Tishya M. Signorelli recently published an article discussing steps that should be taken after losing a loved one. They discussed steps of what to do after the loss of a loved one below.
- First and foremost, take care of yourself and your family.
- Do not make any hasty decisions or major changes immediately.
- Know that if you held a power of attorney while your loved one was alive; this document is no longer valid after death. The only person permitted to act on behalf of an estate following a death is the personal representative or executor appointed by the court.
- Determine if a Will exists. When it is appropriate, the family should search for an original Will. Keep in mind that a Will may not be acted upon until the court admits the Will to probate. Do not assume that just because your loved one may not have had a lot of assets when they died that they do not need to probate the Will or have someone appointed if there is no Will.
- Address whether you need to contact the Social Security Office and inquire about lump sum benefits or monthly benefits.
- Familiarize yourself with what assets your loved one owned, how were they titled, how to locate and value them.
- You will want to know about your loved one’s debts, particularly in what amounts and to whom they are owed.
- Be prepared to deal with banks, credit card companies, and any automatic payment plans.
- Make sure all appropriate creditors are paid first prior to making distribution to any beneficiaries. It is normal to need advice on how this is handled. Many families have questions, especially if there are insufficient assets in the estate to satisfy all the debts or tax obligations.
- Ensure you are aware of any upcoming estate/inheritance or income tax filing deadlines.
See, Tishya M. Signorelli, What To Do After The Loss Of A Loved One: Ten Important Things To Consider, Cole Schotz P.C., July 7, 2020.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.
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