10 Things to do When a Loved One Passes

Written by Robert Nickerson

Have you found yourself in a position where your not sure what to do when a love one has passed away? We’ve all been in that boat. It something that’s never easy to talk about, but there are things you can do to make it easier. I’ve experienced a lot of people who want the right instructions on what happens when the loved one they’ve been caring for has finally passed. As I work with each family on their estate plans, I try to lay out exactly what needs to be done, who they need to talk to, which government agency or court to inform. To give you a little more information on what that all means, I’ve compiled a list of ten things one should at least be doing once someone has passed.

  1. Take care of yourself. Take care of your family. The emotions are going to hit you hard and it’s important to remain calm before proceeding. 
  2. Don’t make any major decisions right away. The worst thing you can do is make any important choice like this through emotion.
  3. Ask yourself if you had power of attorney of your loved one while they were alive. Unless if a document (like one in an estate plan I’d help create) says that you’re the executor or a personal representative, then you’d no longer be in charge. 
  4. See if a will exists. Finding a will help the probate court set everything forward to ensure that the assets will go to respected parties. Even if the loved one didn’t have many assets, don’t assume that you don’t have to go to probate court. 
  5. Get in contact with the social security office. They will see about any monthly benefits or a lump sum that may be due.
  6. Catalog your loved ones assets. This will be essential to figure out the value of their estate. 
  7. Did they have any debts? What most people don’t understand is that a person’s debt doesn’t magically disappear. It’s going to transfer to whomever the executor of one’s estate is. Like before, that too will need to be paid.
  8. Look at their banking. What accounts did they have? Did they have any outstanding loans? Did they have automatic payments setup? How about credit cards? See how much needs to be looked at?
  9. Before the beneficiaries receive their share, be sure that any creditors are paid first. This will create a lot of questions and a financial planner will probably help with. 
  10.  Be aware of any tax or inheritance deadlines. While it’s understandable your going through a lot, it’s important to keep track of time to ensure

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