By: Nick Uzl
Someone close to you has just passed away, and you’re not sure what to do or where to start. The time immediately following a loved one’s death is filled with so many emotions, and quick decisions that it can be very overwhelming. Helping to administer a loved one’s estate can be quite stressful, especially for someone who has no prior experience with the Ohio probate system and doesn’t know how it works. While this time certainly is trying, your Ohio estate planning experts are here to help! Here are 5 steps that can help alleviate the stress associated with administering an estate and make the grieving process a little bit easier. This list is not exhaustive but, rather, a guide only meant to highlight some of the most important things to think about after a loved one has passed away.
1. Ensure that the loved one’s house and property is secure. Have someone pick up the mail (this is especially important if the person has checks coming in the mail regularly). Also ensure that any animals that are left behind are properly cared for.
2. Make sure that funeral arrangements are taken care of.
3. Locate the loved one’s will or other estate/probate documents. You might want to consult an attorney to review these documents in order to figure out what your next steps should be and if a probate court needs to be involved.
4. Collect and organize as many financial statements as possible. Seek to have as complete a financial picture as possible. Including looking for user names and passwords to check for electronic records.
5. If there are any outstanding bills that come in the mail, DO NOT pay them! Paying outstanding bills could actually cause some problems for the administration of the estate later on down the road; while not paying bills won’t cause any problems, after all a credit score does not matter after a person has passed on. Do not use any financial resources of the person who passed away (or your own financial resources) to pay any bills without consulting an attorney.
Many common issues of administering a loved one’s estate can be avoided by being proactive and planning properly. Not only is it important to have an estate plan in place but you should also understand how the estate plan works. It is a good idea to have conversations with your loved ones about where their important documents are located, and what needs to be accomplished shortly after a person passes away. You should know these steps before you need them!
The estate planning experts at AlerStallings can help you eliminate some of the burden your passing may cause your loved ones. Call us today at 1.877.912.3634 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. If a loved one has already passed away, call us. We can help you with the steps above and the rest of the estate administration process.