What You Should Do After a Loved One Dies

The loss of a loved one creates many questions. For some, it is the actual reason for the death, for others, it is more focused on what your next steps should be. Moving on from losing someone you love is often a slow and labored process. You will never forget them, but practically speaking, there are some necessary steps that you must take after a loved one passes. Many of those steps have to do with their physical possessions and their estate plan.

Get Access to Information

In situations where a spouse passes, you may be able to skip this step. However, when the loved one is someone else, you may need to take steps to get inside his or her home to obtain necessary documents and information. Financial statements, valuables, and data can be hard to find if a loved one did not leave a clear indication of where these things may be located.

Getting access to necessary items and information may not be as easy as you might think. A locksmith or landlord likely will not give you access to a property without sufficient proof of your loved one’s death—and that you have a right to access the property.

Gather Necessary Documents and Possessions

Once you do have access, gather as much as you can as quickly as you can. A court may take significant time to allow you to regain entry. You may want to collect:

  •         Credit cards
  •         Bank statements
  •         Expensive personal property item
  •         Tax records
  •         Investment information
  •         Life insurance documents
  •         Wills and other estate planning documents

You likely will be able to go through and get more information later but getting what you can now will give you a good start on what you need to do next.

Freeze Accounts

Part of your role as a family member or friend who is responsible for your loved one’s estate is to safeguard property and information from others, including burglars and even greedy family members. Lock everything up tight and freeze bank accounts and credit cards while you process all of the information that you gather. That way, no one will be able to use these items even if you cannot prevent access for one reason or another.

Change Mailing Address

You should change your loved one’s mailing address to your home, so you stay in the loop about bills and notices. This will help you determine who needs to be notified of your loved one’s passing as well. The post office may require that you present some kind of documentation that you are the one handling your loved one’s estate, but your attorney can help with that particular issue.

Move and Inventory Property

You will want to move property out of your loved one’s home so it can be inventoried and dispersed according to your loved one’s estate planning documents. Sometimes it is easier to inventory from your loved one’s house, but if you do not want to keep up with rental obligations or make mortgage payments, it may make more sense to have property moved.

Work Under Your Loved One’s Estate Planning Documents

Once you have completed tasks outlined above, your loved one’s estate planning documents will provide a helpful “how-to” on what you should do next. You can also read our accompanying blog on what you should be doing as an executor as well. Our team can walk you through the legal aspect of this process, too. Call today for more information: 904-880-5554.

Written by Legacy Planning Law Group

Legacy Planning Law Group is dedicated to working with individuals and families to help protect the assets they have built throughout their life, and make everything simpler for families who have lost a loved one. We help thoughtful people achieve the peace of mind that comes with planning their personal legacy and passing on family harmony.

Written by Legacy Planning Law Group

Legacy Planning Law Group is dedicated to working with individuals and families to help protect the assets they have built throughout their life, and make everything simpler for families who have lost a loved one. We help thoughtful people achieve the peace of mind that comes with planning their personal legacy and passing on family harmony.