In the last few weeks I have been working on a "checklist" for loved ones to use when a friend or relative dies. Often relatives feel overwhelmed in trying to grieve for a loved one and at the same time, the task of closing out the deceased financial affairs. In order to help with this process, I have developed a 6 page checklist with some helpful ideas for my clients in an effort to make their job easier. I know many funeral homes have lists but they always seemed to me to be incomplete. I have organized the list to include:
1. Documents Needed,
2. Things to do Immediately,
3. Funeral Arrangements,
4. To Do Before the Funeral,
5. To Do After the Funeral,
6. Legal and Financial,
7. Licenses, Accounts & Memberships,
8. Dealing with Real and Personal Property, and
Probate is often a last resort and I work hard for my clients, depending on the facts, to find a less expensive alternative. If you would like the list, please call for an appointment to review the facts of your loved ones financial affairs.
Even if the deceased had a Revocable Living Trust, a consultation and checklist can be important in getting the Successor Trustee started on their important job. Over the years I have also developed instructions for Successor Trustees who need guidance and help in understanding their job. It sets forth their rights and responsibilities as Successor Trustee.
I have served as a Successor Trustee and Personal Representative for my own family and for clients so I understand the "nuts and bolts" of the jobs and often have practical solutions for common issues. I have given advice on many wills and trusts that were prepared by other attorneys or even prepared by non attorneys.
However, keep in mind no list is ever intended to fit every situation and is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney experienced in Estate Planning, Probate and Probate Alternatives.