What to Do After a Loved One Dies

Though we know it is impossible to avoid, the death of a loved one is always an incredibly painful experience to undergo. Our estate attorneys of The Law Offices of Anthony Urban, P.C. deeply sympathize with our clients who have just suffered the loss of a loved one. While it may seem insignificant when someone you love dies, you will need to immediately enlist in the help of an estate planning or probate attorney as soon as your loved one passes, so as to ensure the finances and other legalities are properly handled.

In the event of the death of a loved one, the following steps should be taken as soon as possible:

  • Consider any instructions left behind by your loved one regarding funeral and burial arrangements. Look for the most recent will; it may be in a home safe or safe deposit box.
  • Notify family and friends. Publish an obituary.
  • Get in contact with a funeral home, so they can obtain the death certificates.
  • Contact the Social Security Administration and notify them of your loved one’s passing.
  • If there is a will, the executor named in the will should retain an attorney; if there is no will, an immediate family (spouse, child, grandparents, sibling, etc.) should engage an attorney to be appointed administrator. Letters testamentary will be issued to executor where there’s a will; letters of administration will be issued to the administrator where there’s no will.
  • An attorney will prepare a petition to open an estate in the county of the decents’ last residence. Once an estate is raised, an attorney will mail required notices and requests for date of death balances, obtain the EIN, prepare REV-1500 form, file notices with the Register of Wills.
  • Review any financial paperwork, including but not limited to safety deposits, life insurance policies, retirement benefits, tax returns, securities, loans, bank statements, etc., as well as debts and charges accrued prior to the date of death; provide copies to your attorney. Request date of death balances of all banking and financial accounts.
  • Open an estate checking accounting, preferably with the same bank as the decedent’s bank.
  • Maintain insurance coverage and utilities to preserve any real estate property.
  • Request an appraisal of real estate if the perceived market value is substantially less than assessed value multiplied by the county common level ratio of the year of death.
  • Compile a list of the decedent’s assets including real estate, vehicles, financial accounts, etc.
  • Prepare an informal accounting of assets; prepare a family agreement.
  • File a final income tax return. Filing early can save money with a discount. Pay taxes owed to the Register of Wills. Certain non-probate assets will be taxed even if passed outside estate.
  • Distribute estate assets according to the will or Code; if there is a sale of assets, then the net proceeds shall be distributed.
  • If there is any litigation involving the decedent prior to or after his or her death, a petition for approval of any settlement or resolution of the claim must be filed.
  • If an administrator or executor is unable to carry out the duties of the office, then a new personal representative of the estate must be appointed to act on behalf of the estate to complete the process.
  • Consult with our estate and probate lawyers for personalized guidance on various issues such as annuities, real estate, family support allowances, outstanding liabilities, estate accounts, etc.

Contact Our Estate and Probate Attorneys Today

At The Law Offices of Anthony Urban, P.C., we know absolutely nothing is quite as devastating as the loss of a loved one. Even if the death of your loved one was expected, it doesn’t make the loss any less painful. This is why our estate lawyers want to do everything in our power to lessen the stress of the situation as much as possible. While legalities are likely the last thing on your mind, it is essential you do not avoid or delay them, as they consequences can be severe. Allow our estate and probate attorneys to handle the situation, so you and your family can focus on healing.

Schedule an initial consultation with a member of our firm by calling us at (888) 268-0023 today.