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The Probate Process: 5 Steps to Take After a Loved One Passes Away

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult and emotional experiences a person can have in life. Even further, this extremely difficult situation often requires handling a deceased loved one’s estate. It can be overwhelming to take on such a responsibility while grieving the loss of a loved one. This is where an experienced probate attorney can help ensure a loved one’s affairs are taken care of in an expedient and empathetic manner.

There is a way to prioritize these items in order of importance and urgency. While no one likes to think of losing a loved one, being prepared can make an already difficult process slightly easier.

What Can a Probate Attorney Do for Me?

A probate attorney specializes in the legal process of validating a deceased person’s will. After the death of a loved one, the next steps are determined by an estate plan. While every estate plan is different, and a will makes probate easier, a probate attorney is necessary whether there is a will or if the deceased died without a will (intestate). If assets are to be dispersed through a trust, then probate is not involved. While not technically needed, a probate attorney could still help with the administering of a trust.

Probate attorneys generally either represent an heir to an estate (a beneficiary), the personal representative, or the estate itself.

Five Things to Do When a Loved One Passes Away

Upon the passing of a loved one, certain steps are necessary in handling the estate. The following is a list of five tasks to start the probate process; but is by no means a complete list of all steps necessary for full probate.

Obtain a Legal Pronouncement of Death

After the death of a loved one, obtain an official pronouncement of death for legal purposes. If the individual passed away in a hospital or nursing home, the hospital or nursing home will usually take care of this. If not, a medical professional must make the pronouncement. Even after an individual has passed, calling emergency medical services for transport to a hospital allows for a final pronouncement to be made.

Make Funeral Arrangements

The most common task, yet often the most difficult task, is making funeral arrangements. If a burial plan exists, the plan will make the process a bit more organized. However, someone must still examine finances, insurance, and any other information prior to selecting a funeral home Finally, begin informing loved ones of the arrangements, as well as providing the funeral home with any items needed for the service.

Begin the Process of Dispersing Assets

Physical and financial assets should be located, preserved, and prepared so that they are ready for dispersal. These assets will most likely be outlined in the will or trust.

Cancel Services No Longer Needed

Utility services, credit cards, insurance coverages, and any personal email or social media accounts should be cancelled. Additionally, ensure that any outstanding debts are paid off.

Make Final Distribution of Assets

Utilizing a probate attorney will ensure that your loved one’s final assets are distributed according to the deceased’s wishes. Moreover, the attorney can make all of the arrangements for the distribution and settle potential disputes.

If you have lost a loved one, do not let the probate process overwhelm you. Contact an experienced probate attorney who can help make this difficult process as smooth as possible.

Let an Experienced Probate Attorney at Rosenblatt Law Firm Help You Today

Our team at Rosenblatt Law Firm understands the probate process requires a thorough understanding of estate planning, probate laws, and accounting and tax principles. Our seasoned team of probate and business attorneys can help ease the burden of taking care of your deceased loved one’s affairs and guide you through the next steps so that you can focus on your family and their needs. If you are in need of an experienced probate attorney, please contact us through our website or call us at (210) 562-2900 for a free case evaluation.