@Caughtinbetween, Thanks to @Rihana nominating @Hopikrishnan's response to you, I came to know about this thread. First thing first. My condolences to your friend for losing her husband to COVID. It is unfortunate that your friend feels stranded losing her husband in the US with no idea about how to move forward educating her children in the US and carry on life without him. I am glad the funeral was conducted without any hiccup. As indicated by @Hopikrishnan, the probate process is time-consuming depending on the state without which transfer of bank account and other assets to the name of the spouse from the husband's name will take time. She needs to see a lawyer to find out the quickest way to restore normalcy to manage the finances of her husband. At least, they are American citizens and hence there are no visa-related risks. 1) Social Security death benefit - The first thing to do is to make a claim with social security benefit. She needs to go to Social Security Administration office and understand the formalities of filing a death benefit related documents. Once the documents are filed properly along with the death certificate, this monthly benefit would start immediately. I am sure her husband included her as a nominee to his social security benefits. She needs to open a bank account in her name and request SSA to credit the monthly payment to that account. 2) Credit card applications - As she was a joint-holder of credit cards with her husband, she would have a good credit history established already. Hence, she needs to apply for credit cards personally in her name, if she were to lose the credit card issued to her husband as a primary cardholder. 3) Life-insurance claim - She needs to find out the life insurance policies her husband held in his name whether they are term or whole life policies. She needs to talk to this insurance company to initiate the process of claim. Generally, he would have definitely included her wife as a nominee in those policies as the children are minor, hence this claim can be credited to her personal bank account right away. 4) Employment benefits - If her husband is owed any money from the employer towards leave salary and other benefits, your friends should make this claim with the employer. 5) 401(k) - As this benefit is payable to the employee upon retirement or after her husband reached 59.5 years, this payment is difficult without a probate. However, the amount available in this account needs to be found out so that the transfer of funds into her personal name can be done after the probate is obtained. 6) Group life insurance policy - Your friend's husband's employer may have a group life insurance for all the employees in the organization. Generally, this policy is with the employer and it will be paid also to the employer. Mostly, the premium for this policy will be paid directly by the employer. Your friend needs to inquire about the beneficiary of this policy. Sometimes, it is offered as a benefit to the employee whereas some employer uses this group life insurance as business disruption cost reimbursement. 7) If they have a house of their own and mortgage payments are due every month, she needs to verify whether there is mortgage insurance taken by her husband. If that is the case, then she needs to make a claim with that insurance company so that no mortgage payments will be due going forward. If there is no mortgage insurance, then, monthly payment of the mortgage has to be organized and the procedure to change the house into her name needs to be initiated. One of my colleagues died 22 years ago and I helped his wife to make all the claims. Luckily, she started working for a bank resulting in educating both her sons in the US. They had their own house with a monthly mortgage. When I moved to the US in 1995, my wife was 33 years old and my son was 7 years old and hence I was worried about them getting stranded in a new country if something were to happen to me. Therefore, all my bank accounts, investment accounts, immovable property, etc. were in both our names. Besides, I created a will nominating three different people to guide my family, one for managing the estate as a Trustee, another for managing the financial assets, and the third to guide my son to develop his curriculum. The lawyer I consulted suggested that I should think about having a person I trust as the Trustee while someone I feel comfortable managing the finances to be appointed as the manager of the portfolio of assets.