Make funeral arrangements
Did your loved one already make arrangements or leave instructions? An experienced funeral director can be very helpful and offer a variety of helpful services, including obtaining death certificates (usually between 5 and 10 are needed).
Notify people of the death
- Family & Friends Note: Failure to notify even a distant or estranged family member can engender deep feelings of mistrust and resentment.
- Employer, Social Security, VA, Pension, etc.
- Insurance, Banks, Brokerages, IRAs, etc.
Gather important documents
- Bank statements
- Car titles
- Deeds to real property
- Estate plan (will, trust, etc.)
- Life insurance policies and Annuities
- Safe deposit box
- Social Security and Pension
- Stocks and bonds
- Tax returns
Contact an attorney for estate and trust administration
Whether your loved one had a will, trust, both, or neither, an attorney can help you determine the steps necessary to legally transfer assets, deal with the debts, and finalize the deceased’s financial affairs. The probate process, as it is often called, will depend on the assets and debts involved and the deceased’s estate plan (or lack thereof).
Update your legal documents
Once things have settled down, you should update your own legal documents and estate plan.