If you have lost a family member or other loved one, you may feel overwhelmed and confused about what you should do to handle their affairs. While no two situations are the same, below is a simple checklist for several tasks that you will likely need to handle:
- Make funeral arrangements. You should consider whether your loved one would want to be cremated or buried. You will need to notify any specific religious leaders, a funeral home or mortuary for your loved one’s final services.
- Notifications. You will be emotional during this difficult time, so it is helpful to make a contact list to ensure all of your loved one’s friends and family are notified of the death. Having a list also makes it easier for others to help you make the calls if it is too difficult for you to do it.
- Death certificate. It is important to obtain multiple certified copies of your loved one’s death certificate. We typically recommend a minimum of 5, but in some cases you might consider getting 10 copies. You will need to provide a death certificate to insurance companies, financial institutions and other similar entities.
- Locate estate plan. You will want to locate the estate planning documents to determine how to handle the administration of your loved one’s estate.
- Bank accounts. If the deceased has bank accounts that are not held in trust, or jointly with another person (or transferred otherwise), you must determine how to transfer the funds. This includes locating safe deposit boxes and taking an inventory of its contents.
- Retirement accounts. You must locate and determine how the deceased’s retirement accounts (401k, IRA, pension, etc.) will be transferred and who the beneficiaries are.
- Life insurance. You should contact your loved one’s insurance company to discover who is named as the beneficiary of any life insurance policies.
- Creditors. All creditors of the deceased should be notified of your loved one’s death. You should continue to pay all utility bills of the deceased until the services are discontinued.
- Automobiles. Unless handled by an estate plan, you must determine how the vehicles, boats, ATVs, motorcycles and other similar assets are titled and insured, as well as how they will be transferred.
The above list is not all-inclusive and there are many other matters that must be handled. If you need assistance administering the estate of a loved one, we can help. Please review our earlier blogs for a comprehensive list of things to do when someone dies.
The Astill Law Office has provided high quality legal services for over 30 years. We specialize in wills, trusts, estate planning, and asset protection. If you have any questions about creating a Trust, Will, or estate planning in general, contact The Astill Law Office at 801-438-8698.