Death is a painful but inevitable part of life. The event feels more tangible to persons who must deal with the practicalities of death. Preparing for these responsibilities by knowing what must be done can ease the trauma that comes with settling a loved one’s final affairs.
Hire or Consult a Probate Attorney
Laws regarding the estate of a deceased person vary from state to state. What works in Colorado may not apply in California and legal precedents in Virginia could have statutes that are not applicable in South Carolina. Hiring a probate attorney will make the entire process of estate administration easier.
Probate lawyers are state-licensed attorneys who advise executors and beneficiaries on certain aspects of or the entire process of settling the affairs of a deceased person. These lawyers may help executors formulate plans on how to pay the debts of the deceased, distribute their properties and assets, advise how to settle burial disputes. Their services may be acquired with or without a will.
Serious family disputes over a will can be helped along by a probate lawyer. Attorneys in this field may also offer valuable advice to peaceful estate settling in short consultations.
Inform Relatives and People in the Deceased’s Will
Contacting the deceased’s or decedent’s family and informing them of their loved one’s death is often the first step taken. By order of sentimentality, the decedent’s immediate relatives and close friends are informed of the death first. In terms of practicality, their employer, subordinates, lawyer, accountant, doctor, and other pertinent personnel should be notified. In case there is a will, the people mentioned in the form should be called up.
The decedent’s bank and insurer must also be informed. Their utility company, post office, creditors, insurance companies, and the Social Security Administration will require a death certificate, among other requirements, to close their accounts.
Obtain Pertinent Paperwork
People close to the decedent may help arrange the funeral and wake. Legal representatives, accountants, and doctors may help obtain paperwork pertinent to estate administration. Multiple copies of the death certificate are required for various institutions. The following documents will also come in handy:
- Credit report, tax returns, and mortgage and bank account statements
- Insurance policies
- Marriage and birth certificates of the decedent’s surviving spouse and children
Social Media, Subscriptions, and Personal Artifacts
After dealing with the legal aspects of a death, it’s time to take care of personal facets of death. Subscriptions, memberships, orders, contributions, and other ongoing services contracted by the decedent must be canceled or closed. Social media platforms also provide options to report a death and turn an active account into a legacy account.
Moving out a decedent’s belonging could be painful. Enlisting the help of friends and family members close to the deceased can help make the process easier. A will may ascribe certain items to people, but aside from those, charities will accept items that are still in good condition if the thought of selling them feels crass.
When everything is settled, it may be a good idea to seek grief counseling. Bereavement can be challenging even to the most well-adjusted person. Symptoms of grief may not even be evident at first or might be invisible to a person experiencing it. Having a neutral, qualified party could help the bereaved move on from their loss in a healthy fashion.