5 Steps for Taking Care of Your Loved One’s Estate

  • Posted on: Dec 17 2021
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The death of a loved one is never easy. When someone you love passes away, you may have no idea what to do next. The last thing on your mind is probably taking care of all of their personal matters. However, doing so is imperative. That’s why it’s important to know what steps you should take. Here are 5 steps for taking care of your loved one’s estate.

1. Keep their assets safe.

Nothing seems to be sacred anymore and that includes the death of a loved one. Unfortunately, opportunists look at obituaries as an opportunity to steal assets from the decedent’s home when everyone is at the funeral. This is why it’s so important that you do what you must to keep their assets safe and protected from harm. To do so you may wish to remove all of their valuable assets from the home or to even hire a security team while you are at the funeral service. 

2. Obtain their official death certificate.

Just as a birth certificate is very important, so too is an official death certificate. If you are to file a claim for life insurance or death benefits, it’s necessary that you have a copy of their death certificate. You must also inform the Social Security Administration and their retirement accounts of their passing. If individuals, rather than their estate as a whole, were named as beneficiaries of their life insurance, those people must file a claim for their proceeds. However, since it can take at least a month for a claim to process, it’s recommended that they file it as soon as possible. 

3. Establish an inventory of their assets.

When a loved one dies, their estate will be responsible for filing a tax return as well as the decedent’s final tax return. In order to do so, you must first establish an inventory of all of their assets. This inventory is also pressing if the estate is to go to probate court. Although the value of certain assets, such as their bank account, will be obvious, this isn’t the case for other assets, which may require an appraisal. 

4. Pay their creditors when possible. 

While we’d like to think that our debts finally go away when we die, this isn’t true. Even after your loved one passes, their estate is still responsible for paying for notifying their creditors of their death and paying any debts for which the estate has the resources to pay. If this is not done, you may even face legal consequences. 

5. Be on the lookout for any additional benefits. 

Sadly, most people end up leaving “money on the table” when it comes to benefits for which the decedent or his or her estate was eligible. The last thing you want to do is to give up free money. Therefore, it’s so important that you explore all of the different places where you may be able to receive benefits. 

The Law Offices of Brian L. Fox, APLC Help Those in CA Who Are Handling a Loved One’s Estate

As you can see, handling your loved one’s estate can be complicated. However, it doesn’t have to be. A knowledgeable and experienced California estate planning attorney can help to ensure that you cross your T’s and dot your I’s. At the Law Offices of Brian L. Fox, we work with our clients to ensure that their assets and their interests are best protected and we work to ensure that this is done properly and adequately. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, schedule a request or call us at 805-638-9204 today!

Posted in: Estate Planning