The death of someone you love hits hard. Trying to muddle through their estate and your responsibilities may add to an already taxing task.
It may help to have an idea of what you will face in the aftermath of a loved one’s death. Having an idea of the factors you may have to deal with and how the process works may prepare you to face it. Discover a few of the actions you should undertake in the wake of a relative’s death.
Where is the relevant paperwork?
If your loved one dies suddenly, you may find yourself searching for paperwork and passwords in the days after. It may help to gather this information well in advance of ever needing it. For any relative for whom you may have to handle an estate, such as a parent, ask them to give you copies of documents, including:
- Will and estate papers
- Financial accounts and access information
- Insurance policies
Even if this information winds up outdated, it gives you a starting point.
What is the probate process?
When an estate’s value is $50,000 or less, you may process it through a simplified probate process. However, if it exceeds this, the estate travels through regular probate. This court proceeding ensures that the money in the estate goes where your loved one indicated. It also confirms that the estate pays applicable debts before paying out to heirs. Probate may take months or longer, depending on whether there are challenges to the will and the type of property included.
With the proper advanced planning, the business of the estate may go smoother, allowing you the time to deal with the emotional blow of a loved one’s death.