The death of a parent is undoubtedly an unpleasant thing to happen to anyone. This becomes worst when amidst your mourning and grieving period you are asked to commence paper works. It sounds annoying too but it is important to start putting things in place because there is a funeral to plan. No matter how detailed your father or mother must have made their estate, you will still be required to do certain sorting of documents and all that. Experts have advice you start from the most important ones.
Acquiring the death certificate
A death certificate is issued by a medical practitioner stating that the deceased died. This is very relevant as it will be required at some point. The way and manner with which it is formatted is different in every state as every state has their unique pattern of formatting. Acquiring the death certificate can take a couple of weeks so; it is advisable you get to it on time.
Your parent’s plan
Find out if your parent left behind a plan on how they want the affairs of their estate to be handled when they pass away. It is possible they left a will or a trust or in general they had an estate plan. If this is the case then you have lesser work to do as everything must have been arranged pretty well. If there is such plan on ground then their attorney will make this known to you. In a situation whereby your parents had no plans on ground on how their estate should be managed then, you will need to meet with an attorney and go about the process of appointing an executor.
The person in charge
Usually people are advised to name their executor before they die and also make the named executor aware of their role before time. Also, making your beneficiaries aware of whom you have chosen to be your executor could prevent chaos among family members. An executor is the person who is named in the will to take on the responsibility of distributing the testator’s estate among beneficiaries. An executor can also be appointed by the court in a situation whereby there is no will.
Roles of the executor include
- Distributing or sharing properties
- Paying of bills
- Settling of taxes
- Settling of creditors, etc.
Usually, an executor can be a family member, a spouse, an attorney, as the case may be.
Going about the funeral
Your parent might have special funeral rites they wanted. This you will have to figure out. Of course it won’t be in the will as the will can’t be opened till after the funeral. This information may be detailed in another document in the estate plan. So you have to liaise with your parent’s attorney regarding this.
Also the funeral needs financial fuelling to run. Normally, the estate of the deceased takes care of all the financial involvement of the funeral. Remember that until after the funeral, the estate won’t be distributed of accessed but someone needs to pay for the funeral bill. This person should keep records of his expenses so that he can be properly reimbursed when the time comes.
Putting things together
Sorting and arrangements of relevant documents ought to have been done by the deceased before they passed. But if this is not the case, you have to get these documents together and in place.
Accessing digital assets
With the passing of the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA) into law in some states, it is now easy for the fiduciary of the deceased to have access to their online or digital assets. This ensures that none of their assets gets lost in the process.
Working with attorneys
It is likely that while your parent was alive, he had an attorney who managed his estate, financial dealings and all those other legal stuffs. It will be very wise to work with him. If your parent didn’t have one then you should hire one who will guard you through every step.
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