What to do when a loved one passes away?

When a loved one dies, it can be difficult to navigate through the grief and profound emotions. It can
also be difficult to come to terms with the financial issues that inevitably must be dealt with at death.
The assets and debts left behind by a loved one become part of that person’s estate. The first matter that should be addressed regarding the finances of a loved one is whether that person left a will. If so, it is important to locate the original will. Once located, the will names an individual or individuals who are appointed by the loved one to act as the executor of the estate. The job of the executor will be to carry out the wishes of the loved one and the distribution as listed in the will. The will also lists beneficiaries, or those that are entitled to a portion of the assets in the estate.

If the loved one did not leave behind a will, then a personal representative will be chosen to carry out
distribution in accordance with the law. The personal representative is typically a spouse or child of the
deceased loved one, but may be someone else depending on the circumstances. In the event a will is
not located, the family should schedule an appointment with an estate attorney to discuss who will
become the personal representative. If a will is not located, the property of the deceased loved one will also be distributed in accordance with the intestacy laws, which are laws that dictate the order of
distribution of property when there is no will.

If a loved one has died, contact our office and we can assist you through this process as well as handle the next steps, which will be discussed in a later writing.