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3 important steps to take after a family member dies

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Estate Administration And Probate |

People often feel so overwhelmed by the emotional responses to a death in the family that they overlook practical issues. Even intelligent, organized individuals may let their grief dictate their conduct in the early days after someone’s passing.

Unfortunately, legal matters can quickly snowball out of control after someone’s unexpected death. Families that do not take the right steps early after someone’s passing may end up in a highly unfavorable situation later. There are certain steps that are typically necessary in the first days after someone’s passing.

Locating estate planning paperwork

One of the first steps families need to take after someone’s passing is to find any estate planning paperwork they created. Some people have a safe in their office or bedroom that contains all of their important documents. Others may have left a will in the possession of their lawyer or placed it in a safety deposit box after they drafted it. Finding estate planning paperwork is important, as doing so may provide information about someone’s memorial service and also guidance about who should serve as the personal representative of their estate.

Planning memorial services and funerals

Depending on the family’s religion and an individual’s preferences, there are a variety of different memorial services and interment options available when someone dies. Families often have to arrange for the transfer of the decedent from medical facilities to mortuaries or similar establishments. They then have to plan for burial, memorial services or cremations. In some cases, there may be prior planning outlined in someone’s will or other estate planning paperwork detailing their wishes.

Securing personal property

As soon as someone has authority granted by the probate courts, they may need to take action to secure someone’s resources. Especially if the decedent lived alone and had a rental home, their property could be at risk if they fail to pay their rent. Locating and securing high-value assets, possibly by moving them to a separate location, is an important part of the early estate administration process. Securing a freestanding home against intrusions by criminals or family members who want certain property could also be an important step.

Those dealing with grief often have a difficult time handling the responsibilities of estate administration. Getting the right guidance and support in the early days after a loved one’s death can reduce the stress and risk involved in the probate process.