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Losing a loved one is never easy. The grief and emotional turmoil can make it challenging to think about practical matters. Still, it is essential to consider what needs to be done when someone passes away concerning their estate.
The estate refers to the property, money, and assets left behind by the deceased. It is essential to understand what steps must be taken to handle the estate properly and distribute it according to the person’s wishes.
You must know what to do when a loved one passes away concerning their estate, including tips on navigating the process with compassion and care. It would also help if you hired an Estate Planning Attorney to deal with the aftermath of an estate acquisition when you lost a loved one.
Handling estate after losing a loved one:
1. Locate the will
They will outline the deceased’s wishes to distribute their assets and appoints an executor to carry out those wishes. It is usually stored in a safe place such as a home safe, attorney’s office, or bank safe deposit box.
If you are unsure of the whereabouts of the will, it may be helpful to ask close family members or the deceased’s attorney. The estate will be handled according to state law if the will cannot be found. It is vital to locate the will as soon as possible, as it provides a clear roadmap for handling the deceased’s estate and helps ensure their wishes are carried out.
2. Appoint an executor
Appointing an executor is essential in handling a loved one’s estate. The executor is responsible for carrying out the instructions in the will, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries. If the deceased had a will, they likely named an executor. If not, the court will appoint one.
When choosing an executor, it is crucial to consider the person’s organizational skills, ability to handle money, and willingness to take on this responsibility. The executor should also be someone who is trustworthy and will follow the instructions outlined in the will. If there is any conflict over who should serve as the executor, it is best to seek the advice of a qualified attorney.
3. Deal with debts and taxes.
The executor is responsible for paying off any debts owed by the deceased, such as credit card bills, mortgages, and loans. They will also need to ensure that any taxes owed are paid, including federal and state income taxes, estate taxes, and inheritance taxes.
Gathering all necessary financial documents, such as bank statements, investment account statements, and tax returns, are vital to assess the debts and taxes owed accurately. The executor may also need to work with an accountant or financial advisor to ensure that all debts and taxes are correctly accounted for and paid promptly.