How to navigate an estate plan after losing a loved one

How to navigate an estate plan after losing a loved one

Woman standing at headstone holding red flowers in cemetary. Illustrates mourning and relates to how to navigate an estate plan after losing a loved one.

Unfortunately, more and more families are having to navigate the loss of their loved one. Imagine the 640,000 families dealing with losing a loved one from Covid-19? And, those deaths are in addition to heart attacks, and all the other causes we see on an annual basis.

Steps to navigate an estate plan

You have so much on your plate, yet there are steps you need to take to deal with the most essential tasks and avoid some common mistakes. Here are some basics:

  • Tell Others — Oftentimes, you need to notify others before doing anything else so you can make funeral and/or memorial arrangements. The people you’ll need to contact include, but are not limited to family members, friends, employers, coworkers, plus personal and professional acquaintances. 

These days, many people use social media to get the word out after making final arrangements.

  • Gather Documents – First and foremost, you’ll need the death certificate. You can obtain this from the funeral home or medical examiner’s office. I know you’re stressed, but you really need to get this quickly since you’ll need it to access the deceased’s financial accounts, to file a claim for life insurance, as well as addressing other personal affairs. 
  • Notify Authorities — Most often, the estate’s executor has the responsibility to notify authorities. These include, but not limited to:
    • Social Security Administration
    • banks and mortgage companies
    • property management
    • financial advisor
    • insurance companies

You’ll also want to gain access to any of the deceased safe deposit box(es). 

Additionally, in our online age, plan to notify and/or close social media, cloud storage, and email accounts, as well as any online accounts associated with credit cards, such as Amazon or Netflix.

  • Address the Deceased Wishes — If properly prepared as part of the deceased estate plan, the Will should contain final wishes. Now is the time to locate it and address what your loved one painstakingly wanted at life’s end.
  • Settle the Estate — Without legal help, this may prove arduous. That’s where we step in for our clients and ease the process. A few but not exclusive tasks include:
    • Transfer assets 
    • Probate estate, when required to transfer ownership of property. 
    • Reconcile any outstanding bills
    • Close accounts
    • Distribute remaining assets

We do this all the time!

Our job is to counsel our clients and help them navigate an estate plan before and after losing a loved one, and help probate estates, as necessary. We represent clients in Florida, New Jersey, and Hawaii. Call now 877.727.5379 to schedule a free initial consultation with our experienced estate planning and probate attorneys by phone or Zoom.

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