The funeral is behind you and the refrigerator is filled with hotdishes from the neighbors. While it might seem like all of the difficult work is behind you, there are still a number of tasks to be managed in the days following the service. To help guide you through the next few days, we’ve created a list to make the load feel more manageable.
Have mail forwarded.
This should be a fairly simple process with the local post office as long as you have the right documentation. This will be helpful to make sure you are able to cancel subscriptions and deal with any unpaid bills.
Get certified copies of death certificates.
You will need these for many of your upcoming tasks, so work with the funeral home to get at least 10 copies. If working with the funeral home isn’t an option, you can secure copies from the vital statistics office in the state where your loved one died.
Locate important legal documents.
Locate estate planning documents. The Trustee or personal representative will need to be contacted to determine if that person is willing to serve in this capacity and to take next steps.
Meet with an estate attorney.
Having an estate attorney isn’t required in order to settle an estate, but it is highly recommended to make the process easier. Even seemingly simple estates can become quite complicated. If your loved one used an attorney for creating their estate documents, this same person can be hired for settling the estate. Otherwise, the trustee or personal representative can select an attorney.
Find out if probate is necessary.
The estate attorney can help with this. Even if your loved one had a will in place, probate may be necessary. The idea of going to probate court can be anxiety-inducting, but if it comes to this, know that the estate attorney and the probate clerks and judges are familiar with situations like yours and are trained to help.
Find a CPA.
It is important that required tax filings are completed, by the appropriate deadline, after a person passes away. A CPA or tax professional will be able to advise what needs to be filed and can assist in preparing those filings. Make certain that you hire a professional who understands and handles estate tax requirements and filings.
This task may feel daunting, so first, take a deep breath and remember the importance of self-care. This will formally be a duty of the personal representative of the estate. It might also present future squabbles among family members. Prepare a detailed inventory of all assets and their estimated fair market value. It can also be helpful to include photos of family heirlooms and sentimental valuables.
Again, the experts at Schromen Law, LLC are here to help you with these tasks. Don’t hesitate to contact our offices if you have any questions as you work through this list, one step at a time.