When an individual dies, a number of tasks must be done to close their legal affairs and distribute their property. Generally, the job falls to one of the children of the deceased, but it may also become the duty of a sibling or close friend. Some of the tasks may depend on the preliminary accomplishment of other duties. Here are some of the most common measures that must be done to close up legal affairs after a death.
1 – Get the Certificate of Death
You should arrange to get a certificate of death from the state as soon as possible. This document is needed for a number of legal actions needed to close accounts, arrange for insurance payouts, receive benefits and other activities. You should ask for several copies of the certificate, which will probably have to be kept on file at many of these agencies.
2 – Pay Off Debts
Even the most conscientious individual will have a number of debts that must be paid after their passing. Experts recommend waiting for a period of six months before closing bank accounts to ensure that all bills have come in and are appropriately paid.
If you are named as a co-owner of the account, you may still be required to provide the death certificate and other documents to prove your legal authority to conduct business for the deceased.
3 – Notify Social Security and Other Agencies
You will also have to notify Social Security, insurance companies and other agencies of the death, so that payments are stopped or payouts of benefits are initiated. Generally, you will be required to provide the certificate of death for these actions. It is important to update all of the needed paperwork on behalf of your family member so that you and the rest of your family can finalize all of their affairs.
This can be a hard process for you and your family’s emotions. So it’s important to come together during this time and finalize all of the paperwork and affairs of the deceased. Lean on each other during this time, and turn to a lawyer for help with the paperwork details.
4 – Distribute the Estate to Heirs
Finally, you will be required to distribute money or other property to the legal heirs of the estate, as direct in the will. If the deceased has made appropriate legal arrangements for the disposition of the estate, such as with Klotz Jean Law Office, this task will be much easier. If the estate left behind is above a certain amount of money, the will must go through the probate court, which will oversee distribution.
The details of closing up the legal affairs of a loved one after death can continue for several months after the event. Hopefully, the deceased has provided the legal documents to ensure a smooth transfer of money and property to heirs of the estate.
The responsibility of handling these final details for a love one can be a heavy one, but it is also a way for you to affirm the profound connection to someone who has had an important influence on your life.