What Do You Do When A Loved One Dies?
When a loved one dies, the emotional response can be overwhelming. Paperwork and details are the last thing people want to think of - well, most people. There are all the choices to be made around the person. Burial or cremation? What kind of service should we have? Who gets invited? These decisions come fast and furious. Then just when you think you have gotten past the most important part comes the realization that winding up a person’s life is not simple, especially if they haven’t updated their estate plan in a long time or worse – don’t have one. In my opinion, one of the most loving things you can do for your family members is to have a an estate plan in place during your lifetime and update it every 3-5 years.
A few things to help guide you in the initial stages:
Was there a will or a trust? If so, find it and ensure it is the latest one. Check with the attorney who drafted it or seek out legal counsel to assist you to determine that. When you are a member of the Trusts and Estate section of the State Bar, as I am, we regularly send emails out to the other members to find out if there is a Will that is unknown to the relatives; and/or if the version found is the latest one.
Now the administrative process of accounting for a person’s life to their creditors and heirs begins. We will discuss this process in our next newsletter. But in the meantime, should you have any questions in relation to a family member or with changes needed to your estate plan, please give our office a call.