A loved one just passed away. What do I do now?

LastWill01When a loved one passes away, you are dealing with many things at one time. It can be difficult to know how to handle that person’s belongings, real estate, vehicle, and bank accounts. Here are some helpful tips for what to expect to do in the weeks following a family member or friend’s death:

Step 1: Locate the person’s original will, if possible. If you do not locate one immediately, but you have reason to believe that the person executed a will, check the following locations: safes, filing cabinets, home office and safety deposit boxes at the person’s bank. However, if you are not authorized to enter the safety deposit box, you may need to skip directly to step #3.

Step 2: Determine who the deceased listed as his or her personal representative (executor/executrix) in his or her will, if you are able to locate a will. Notify that person, and have him or her file a Petition to admit the will to probate. If he or she is unable or unwilling, talk to an attorney about the option of you or another individual filing the petition.

Step 3: Contact an experienced probate attorney who can help walk you through the probate process.

Step 4: File your petition for probate with the appropriate court.

Step 5: Obtain letters testamentary from the court. These letters will allow you to dispose of the decedent’s property, pay off his or her debts and get access to his or her bank accounts, safety deposit boxes and other confidential accounts.

Step 6: Give notice of the death to the person’s potential creditors. This can be done by publication in a local newspaper, which will be explained to you by your attorney or the probate clerk.

Step 7: Distribute the decedent’s property according to the will and pay his or her debts. If there is no will, work with your attorney to determine who will inherit the deceased’s property.

Step 8: Obtain a TennCare release and an estate tax return. You can be helped through this process by an estate attorney.

Step 9: Close the estate once all releases have been obtained, all property has been distributed, and all known debts have been addressed.

This list is simply an overview, but it will give you an idea of the things to be done during the probate process. For more detailed information, please contact our office to set up your free consultation. We are experienced in working with families who are going through the grieving process and, at the same time, attempting to deal with the legal obligations associated with a death.

Sitemap | Privacy Policy | Meet me in Google+ | Find Us in Google+ | by: Helix SEO, IncSEO Service + SEO Web Design

Use of this website and its contents does not generate an attorney/client relationship. Any email correspondence directly to Lauren Wilson Castles, Attorney at Law, from this website is intended for general communication only and does not automatically create an attorney/client relationship.