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What steps are necessary to take after a loved one passes?

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Family members have a heavy burden to carry after someone dies. Whether it is an unexpected passing early in someone’s life due to illness or the loss of an elder family member, there are many personal and practical challenges that follow the loss of a loved one.

People often have a hard time knowing what steps to take and may end up either overworking themselves or failing to take important steps because they let the stress of the situation overwhelm them. Those with a realistic plan will have a better time handling the challenges that arise when someone passes.

Handling the immediate aftermath of their passing

There are certain important steps that people have to take very quickly after someone dies. Those steps will include making arrangements for the transportation and storage of their remains and securing official documentation of their death. People will need official records of someone’s passing to handle many of the other stages of the probate process. Within a few days of someone’s death, family members will need to start discussing interment or cremation and memorial services. After the family has an opportunity to gather and grieve, the practical tasks of estate administration begin.

Preparing for the probate process

Locating someone’s last will, if they have one, is an important step. Family members or the person chosen to act as the executor or personal representative of the estate will need to submit notice of the death and any testamentary documents to the probate courts. They will then typically need to take steps to secure someone’s property. They will have to send formal letters to creditors and publish notice of someone’s death in case there are other parties that the family does not know about who have an interest in someone’s estate.

After paying off someone’s valid debts and resolving any of their outstanding tax obligations, the representative of their estate will then need to distribute their assets among their beneficiaries as requested in their estate plan or in accordance with intestate succession laws if they did not provide directions for the distribution of their assets.

The entire process can be very challenging, which is often why the first step that people take is to hire an attorney who can guide them so that they don’t make mistakes or fail to take important steps. Learning more about what the state requires from those who have recently lost a loved one will help people better navigate the probate process while simultaneously navigating their own grief.