On December 15, 2015

Survivors’ Checklist: 6 Steps to Take after a Death

Survivors’ Checklist: 6 Steps to Take after a Death

The death of a loved one can turn your world upside down. While grief can be overwhelming, if one person is ready to take action to prepare the estate for settlement, the following process of transferring the estate to the heirs can be resolved more efficiently.

What to Do following a Death

  1. Take care of any immediate household needs – If the decedent had minor children or pets, make plans to have them cared for. For other house-related needs, like bills or ongoing maintenance, develop a plan for covering these necessities for the coming week or two. Essentially, you will need to make sure the day-to-day needs for the household will be covered while you work out the next steps for settling the estate.
  2. Contact the surviving relatives – Call the decedent’s close relatives and loved ones to inform them of the death. A helpful way to get the message out quickly can be to set up a phone tree, splitting up the list of calls between a few close relatives so that you are free to continue working on the next steps that will need to be taken.
  3. Locate the estate planning documents – Look for the will, any funeral or burial directives and any other estate planning documents the decedent may have left behind. While you may be able to locate these documents in the decedent’s safe or safety deposit box, here are some more tips for how to locate estate planning documents after a death.
  4. Notify the insurer(s) – Namely, contact the life insurance provider (and any other insurance providers) to alert them to the death. Insurers may have further instructions for you, regarding filing claims against policies, for instance, so be sure to note these if provided.
  5. Obtain copies of the death certificate – You will need a number of copies of the death certificate as you move forward to settle the estate (if you end up being the personal representative), and getting these copies upfront can facilitate the later work you may need to do.
  6. Consult an attorney – This is important because a lawyer can help you figure out the next steps, explain whether probate is necessary and help you move forward to efficiently settle the estate.

Contact a Denver Estate Attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC

When you are ready to administer and settle an estate, you can turn to the Denver estate attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC. We provide a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to our clients’ estate planning, elder law and other legal needs, and we take pride in helping each of our clients and their families find the best solutions for them.

Let’s discuss your options during an initial consultation. To schedule this meeting, call us at (303) 741-2400 or email us using the contact form at the top of this page.

From our offices in Denver, we serve clients throughout the southwest and southeast Metro Area, including (but not limited to) people in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Parker, Aurora, Greenwood Village and Englewood.

Categories: Estate Administration, Probate, Trustees, Executors & Fiduciaries