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

It is an overwhelming and emotional time in a person’s life when they lose a loved one. While this is true, there are many steps to be taken afterward in order to ensure that the deceased’s estate plan is taken care of. This includes the following:

Notify Family Members and a Funeral Director

It is important to let the family members and other loved ones of the deceased know of their death. In addition to this, a funeral director can help with the funeral and burial arrangements, publish an obituary, and order a death certificate. 

Find the Necessary Legal Documents

This can include any estate planning documents such as a will or trust. In addition to this, you should gather documentation of insurance policies, beneficiary designations, and more.

Consult an Attorney

When dealing with these matters, it can be beneficial to retain the services of an attorney to walk you through the steps of the estate’s legal process. An attorney can help identify and inventory the estate’s assets as well as determine how to distribute the estate.

Review the Deceased’s Insurance and Employee Benefit Plan

Reach out to the deceased’s insurance company to determine how their benefits will be paid. In addition to this, contact their employer to determine if any benefits are payable to family members or other beneficiaries. 

Cancel Unneeded Services 

The deceased may have left behind certain services that must 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

After a death, there may be outstanding debts and or bills that must be paid off. An attorney can help determine what should be paid and what can be negotiated. 

Distribute the Estate

It is important to distribute the assets within the estate to the rightful beneficiaries. This can include payments outlined by a will, trust agreement, retirement account, insurance policy, or more. It also involves changing the title to assets such as real estate, accounts, policies, vehicles, and more to the proper recipient. 

Review and Update Your Own Plan

Depending on the situation, the death of a loved one can alter your own estate plan. It is important that this is reflected in your plan by updating it. This may require a new executor, trustee, or a change in beneficiaries. 

Contact our Firm

Working with an experienced estate planning attorney, such as Jaci Feldman of the Woodland Hills, California, Law Office of Yacoba Ann Feldman, will ensure that you are taken care of when you need it most.Contact The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman to schedule a consultation today.