Getting a grip on the legal steps needed, is difficult during the grieving process.
There are many legal issues to be faced with an estate, when a family member passes away. However, there are some steps recommended and the sooner the better, according to Kiplinger in "5 Things to Do the Moment a Loved One Passes Away"
The steps include:
- Making sure that someone in the family has access to the home of the deceased. A walk through of the home should be done to make sure that anything of value is secure and to look for all financial and legal documents.
- Closing all financial accounts. Make sure that banks and credit card companies know someone has passed away. Provide them with any documentation they need to put holds on the accounts. If no one will be living in the home, make sure unnecessary services, such as cable and phone, are stopped.
- If you are going to be the executor of the estate, get a general idea of the estate's finances by looking at any tax documents and financial statements.
- Meeting with an accountant and an estate attorney to learn what you need to do and consider whether you need to hire them to assist you.
- Talking to other family members to try and reach agreements about how the estate should be handled and by whom. This will help avoid fights later.
Reference: Kiplinger (April 17, 2018) "5 Things to Do the Moment a Loved One Passes Away"