Grieving a loss is going to be one of the hardest times in most of our lives. It’s at times like these that some of us find it difficult to even think about concepts such as money or possessions. However, if a loved one has left an estate behind, then you need to make sure that it is dealt with appropriately. If you are the next of kin, it may be your responsibility to take care of it, too. So, what do you do about it?
Notify the appropriate parties
First of all, the Social Security Administration has to be notified if someone has passed away. There may be a legal team, such as a probate attorney, that your loved one has named as the executor of their estate. In such cases, you may have to do nothing except for getting in touch with them. If they haven’t named a probate attorney, it might be worth getting in touch with them yourself to help you go through the process legally and safely.
Take an inventory and protect it
When you are deciding how to handle your loved one’s possessions, then you will need to take an inventory of everything that they owned as best as possible. This will include any documents pertaining to assets or accounts that they own. To prevent theft or vandalism, you may want to move some assets to private storage but you should inform a probate lawyer if you plan to do this.
Claim any appropriate benefits
If you are aware of any life insurance policies, retirement accounts, or other benefits that your loved one may have received from employers, then it’s important to get the ball rolling on those claims. They may help to cover the costs of the funeral services and to help those who may be classified as dependents or beneficiaries of those benefits.
Liquidize what is necessary
Whether it’s necessary to take care of any accounts payable or simply to make the transfer of assets easier where no one is specifically named for receiving certain assets, you might want to liquidize some things. The best way to do this might be to work with professionals who set up local estate sales. This way, you can make sure that assets are handled as impartially as possible, paying only a portion of the return in exchange for the services provided and the sale facilitated.
Take care of any debts
There can be a lot of confusion around the debts that are left when someone has departed. However, in many cases, they are likely to still be responsible in so far as their estate can pay it out. This only counts for debts made their name only. Debts made under multiple names may fall in part or entirely to the other signers of the debt. Either way, it’s important to find out what debt a loved one has left, if possible, and to use the estate to pay off what you can. Otherwise, it may create legal problems as far as passing the estate on to others.
If you’re left to take care of a loved one’s estate, it’s important to go by the book as best as possible.
This is a collaborative post.