Dealing with the death of a loved one is never easy, but it’s especially tough when it’s unexpected. More difficult still, you need to figure out the right steps to take. Bronx estate attorney Stephen B. Kaufman, P.C. wants to help you through this troubling time. Here, he recommends the best steps to take following an unexpected passing.
An Estate Attorney Shares What to Do After an Unexpected Death
1. Contact the Family
When your loved one dies unexpectedly, you’ll have to manage the immediate arrangements first. Call family members to let them know what happened and seek support. Notify the deceased’s employer, and collect any information on money owed and life insurance policies.
2. Make the Funeral Arrangements
You’ll also need to plan the funeral almost immediately. Find out if the person expressed their end wishes and pre-paid for a burial plot and funeral service. If not, the responsibility for decisions and expenses falls on the closest family members. Make sure you obtain a copy of the death certificate from the funeral home: You’ll need it to handle their estate.
3. Handle the Property Distribution
In New York, an estate settlement takes place in the Surrogate's Court. The process depends on whether there was a will or not and the value of the property. Having an estate attorney will be beneficial when you’re navigating this complex system.
If there’s a will, it will be handled in probate court. As long as it is deemed valid, you and your lawyer will follow the instructions your loved one outlined. If they did not leave a will, the settlement takes place in administrative court. The court will appoint the most qualified distributee to handle the distribution of the remaining property. They will automatically be named the owner of any real estate, based on state law.
It’s best to consult an attorney who has experience in New York estate laws to steer you through the process the right way. In the Bronx, residents turn to the law firm of Stephen B. Kaufman, P.C. He and his team have been providing quality legal representation to their clients for decades. To schedule a consultation with this estate attorney, visit them online or call (718) 822-0500.