Losing a loved one is a devastating experience, but, while you may be overcome with grief, there are also practical matters to address. Your loved one’s estate will be subjected to the terms of probate law, so you must prepare for that process. Following the guide below can hopefully make the proceedings move along as smoothly as possible.
How to Handle Your Loved One’s Estate
1. Consult a Lawyer Who Is Familiar With Probate Law
The probate process is complex and involves filling out extensive paperwork, which must all be turned into the courts as quickly as possible. Your attorney can help you manage this documentation to help you avoid errors that could prolong resolution. A legal representative can also help you prepare for other aspects of dealing with the estate, so you won’t be left with any unpleasant surprises.
2. Keep a Record of Expenses
As soon as your loved one dies, you may be the one responsible for paying funeral and burial expenses, hiring a probate law attorney, feeding their pets, and taking care of other matters. Many of these expenses should be paid for by the decedent’s estate, but it may still be some time before the estate exits probate.
You should, therefore, keep receipts and other records of expenses until the estate can reimburse you. These costs can mount up, so you shouldn’t pay for them without planning to be compensated.
3. Don’t Let Family Members Take Physical Property
Everything the decedent owned is considered part of their estate, which means it may need to be liquidated to settle estate taxes and remaining debts. If your family members begin taking items, such as silverware, jewelry, and electronics, you may run into trouble with the probate court. To prevent this from happening, take a full inventory of your relative’s assets and secure the property as best as you can.
4. Notify the Social Security Administration
You might have seen news reports or heard stories about spouses or adult children who had been cashing a decedent’s social security checks only to be told they had to repay that money. This is not a myth, so it’s important to notify the Social Security office soon after your loved one dies. Any checks you have received after your loved one’s passing should be returned to the office as well.
Hiring a probate law attorney soon after a loved one dies can help relieve a great deal of stress and leave you the time you need to process your emotions. The Law Offices Of Charley Johnson has been practicing in Leon County, TX, for more than 35 years, so they have the expertise and legal knowledge to help you handle probate. For more on their capabilities and history, visit them online. To arrange an initial consultation, call (903) 536-2185.