What Steps Do I Need to Take After the Death of a Loved One to Handle Their Estate?

When a loved one passes away, it is often a difficult and emotional time. However, while it can be overwhelming, it is important that the proper steps are taken after their death in order to ensure their estate plan is taken care of. This includes the following:

Notify Family Members and a Funeral Director

After the death of a loved one, it is important to notify family members and other individuals who were close to them. It is important to also seek out a funeral director to assist with the funeral, burial, obituary, and order a death certificate. 

Find the Necessary Legal Documents

There are many documents that may be a part of an estate. This can include a will, trusts, insurance policies, beneficiary designations, and more. 

Consult an Attorney

It is important to retain the services of an experienced attorney to help navigate the steps of estate administration. An attorney can help identify and inventory the assets within the estate as well as determine how to distribute them.

Review the Deceased’s Insurance and Employee Benefit Plan

The deceased’s insurance company can determine how their benefits will be paid. It is also crucial to reach out to the individual’s employer to see if any benefits are payable to family members or other beneficiaries. 

Cancel Unneeded Services 

The deceased may have left behind services that need to be discontinued, including:

  • Credit cards
  • Cell phone plans
  • Car insurance
  • Online streaming services or cable
  • Club or gym memberships
  • Subscriptions 

Pay Debts and File Taxes

When an individual dies, they may have left behind certain debts or bills that must be paid. An attorney can help figure out what should be paid and what can be negotiated. 

Distribute the Estate

One of the final steps of estate administration is distributing the assets to the rightful beneficiaries. This can include payments outlined by a will, trust agreement, retirement account, insurance policy, and more. It also requires changing the title of certain assets such as real estate, accounts, policies, vehicles, and more to the proper recipient. 

Review and Update Your Own Plan

The death of a loved one can alter your own estate plan in many ways. It is because of this that it is important to reflect these changes in your plan by updating it. This may require a new executor, trustee, or a change in beneficiaries. 

Contact our Firm

If you or a loved one needs assistance creating an estate plan and wish to speak with an experienced attorney, contact the Law Office of Andres D. Gil, PLLC today.

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