Estate Administration: What To Do When A Family Member Dies

Settling the estate of a deceased loved one is often a challenging process, especially when you are grieving. By being aware of state laws and following these steps could dramatically ease the process of deceased estate administration. Administering the estate means securing the properties of your loved one during the process of administration, paying taxes and debts, and distributing assets of the estate to the individuals who are entitled to obtain them.

Determine Who's the Trustee or Executor of Will

Consult with your attorney if it's not clear who's appointed by the trust or Will.

Set Up a Temporary Care for Dependents Like Minor Children

Your first task is to arrange for care for any dependent of the deceased. You may have to look into hospice, pet care, or day care services for temporary care or assistance until you found a longer-range solution.

Get Certified Copies of the Certidificate of Death

You'll need the copies for several purposes, so it is a good idea to obtain many certified copies.

Locate the Trust or Last Will and Testament

Locate a Trust or a Will, or other essential after-death documents.

Collecting Mail

Collecting the mail of the person who passed away will protect his or her privacy. It also serves a vital administrative function. The mail helps you identify the propery of the deceased person, as bank account statements and other important documents relating to the decedent's properties arrive by mail. Also, utility bills will arrive in the mail. This will help you identify creditors.

Paying Bills

Even after the person's death, bills will keep on arriving for the expenditures incurred during the individual's lifetime. These could include, credit card statements, insurance premiums, medical bills, cell phone bills, utility bolls, tax bills, invoices for home loan payments, etc. The following are some tips to handling bills:

Surviving spouses may be personally liable for the person's debts, depending on state law. If you are a surviving spouse, consult with an attorney about whether and to what extent you should pay your spouse's bills.

If you aren't the surviving spouse, don't try to pay the bills from your personal bank account. If you do, you could be deemed to be the person assuming the reponsibility for paying off the debt. Legitimate bills must be paid from the accounts which belonged to the deceased, and these payments must be made only by a person who's been given authority to make decision, like an Executor of Will or a Trustee.Forward all bills to the Executor of Will or Trustee. But if no one is serving as an Executor or Trustee yet, temporarily hold the bills and don't pay them until someone is appointed.

It's the Executor or Trustee's job to identify which bills are legitimate, fulfill the notification requirements for creditors, and reject or accept creditor claims. The Executor or Trustee must consult with an attorney regarding completing such tasks, because failure to fulfill legal requirements could hold the Executor or Trustee liable.

If creditors insist to receive payment before an Executor or Trustee is appointed, inform them that bills are on hold until an authorized representative is assigned. If a creditor files a legal claim, immediately contact a lawyer.

Estate Administration Services provides professional, reliable, and compassionate assistance on deceased estate administration. Contact them by clicking on the following links. They can help you save time and effort and spare you from further stress during this trying time of losing a loved one.

This article was published on 16 Aug 2014 and has been viewed 538 times
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