The emotional trauma of an unexpected death often includes a range of financial and legal issues which require timely attention.
It is difficult enough for family members to handle the emotional trauma of a death, let alone taking the steps necessary to get these matters in order.
First, you should secure the tangible personal assets, which means all the things that you can touch such as collectibles, dishes, furniture or artwork as the one who executes or represent the will.
It is more important for you and your family to have time to mourn. Bills which needs payment and other financial matters can wait either a week or two without any real aftermath.
You should meet with a lawyer when you are ready but not almost too late to know the steps necessary to do to organize the will. The exact rules of estate planning differ from state to state, the key actions include:
- FILE THE WILL – In order to get appointed as executor, you should file the will and petition in probate court.
- COLLECT ASSETS – Find out about everything the deceased owned and file a list of inventory with the court.
- PAY BILLS AND TAXES – File an estate tax return due within nine months of the date of death.
- DISTRIBUTE PROPERTY TO HEIRS – When the period for creditors to make claims is still on the process, executors do not pay out all the estate assets.
- Lastly, file an account with the court containing all the list of income to the estate since the date of death and all the expenses and distributions of the said estate.
Some of the steps might be avoided through trusts or joint ownership arrangements, whoever is in charge is responsible for payment of all the debts, file tax returns and distribute the property to the rightful heirs.