A Checklist for When Death Occurs

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Having a plan, like a checklist, for when death occurs can save money and headaches. Follow this checklist when death occurs from an estate planning and probate lawyer in this free video on estate law.

Part of the Video Series: Estate Planning
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Video Transcript

A checklist when somebody dies can consist of a couple of things. First and foremost is notifying the people who need to be notified. Extended family, friends, putting together the obituary. That's not an easy thing to do. Putting together an obituary can be a very painful thing. Gathering information about the deceased--be prepared for a newspaper to charge for that to. A lot of people are shocked when they find out newspapers charge for obituaries. Most of these papers are going to charge for an obituary. Be prepared for that too. You need to also figure out who's going to pay for the funeral. Funeral homes don't work for. They're going to want somebody that's liable--financially liable for the cost of that funeral. They may want money up front, they may want to take a credit card, they make take an assignment of a life insurance, but somebody somewhere is going to have to write a check or write an agreement with the funeral home to pay for that funeral before a funeral home's going to touch this thing. After the funeral, checklist continued. Personal property. In our experience, most fights break out over personal property, not over the big items. Not over who gets the house or who gets the mutual funds, but who gets dad's shotgun, who gets mom's wedding ring. So do not go distributing personal property until the will is read, or until the trust is read, or until a search has been done, to see if there was any disposition the deceased left regarding those assets. And then only the executor, only the trustee should do that, and the executor's not the executor until the court appoints the executor after a court hearing. The trustee may be the trustee from the get go, but even then the trust needs to be read. And the will needs to be read by a competent attorney to make sure that things are done carefully and correctly from the very beginning.

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