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Estate planning steps to take after a loved one’s passing

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2022 | Estate Planning |

The passing of a loved one is never easy. Even if you were prepared for the eventuality, the emotional toll that comes with losing a loved one can be overwhelming to most people.

However, alongside the funeral arrangements, it is important that you take certain steps regarding the decedent’s estate upon their demise. Here are some of these steps:

Find out if they had an estate plan

The process of probating and succeeding your loved one’s estate upon their passing will be much easier if they had an up-to-date estate plan. If your loved one left a valid will, trust or other estate planning tools, you will likely have an easy time understanding and distributing their estate according to those wishes. If they didn’t leave a will, however, their estate will be probated in accordance with Virginia intestacy laws.

Put together the necessary paperwork

Upon your loved one’s death, you will need to gather essential paperwork. These include the decedent’s birth, marriage and death certificates. You may also obtain their financial records, tax returns and social security card. While this may be a daunting task, you need to get these documents together in preparation for what lies ahead.

Begin the probate process

The probate process can be a long and taxing one, especially if the decedent had complex assets. If the decedent named you as their estate’s executor, then you will need to start off by identifying their assets and debts, paying estate taxes, identifying the beneficiaries and presenting the remaining assets to the probate court for distribution based on the decedent’s will.

Several issues can arise when a loved one dies. Knowing the steps to take following a loved one’s death can ensure that the probate process goes on as smoothly as possible.