First Steps of Estate Planning

If you’ve recently lost a loved one, please accept our condolences. The weeks ahead will be difficult on many levels, handling the estate of the lost included. Our experience suggests that the steps below apply in most circumstances and will help guide you through the next several weeks.

  1. Notify family and friends of your loved one’s death. Offers of support that can be accepted should be.
  2. Secure the care for any minor children, elderly spouse or pets.
  3. If your loved one’s house is to remain empty, ask neighbors or friends to keep an eye on the home, collect any mail, water plants, etc.
  4. Contact your loved one’s employer to inform them of his passing, and to inquire if there are any workplace life insurance policies
  5. Call the funeral home to arrange for a service and burial or cremation. Your loved one’s wishes regarding disposition of remains may be contained in his will or other personal papers. Your loved one may also have a prepaid burial plan.
  6. Request ten (10) certified copies of the death certificate from the funeral home. You should also locate and secure the following documents and information:
    a. Your loved one’s original Will;
    b. Financial Account Statements for bank accounts, savings accounts, 401K accounts, investment accounts, and individual retirement accounts, etc., that show the account balances and other information as of the date of death;
    c. Information regarding any life insurance policies that your loved one owned;
    d. Title to any automobiles in your loved one’s name;
    e. Listing of real property in which your loved one had an ownership interest;
    f. Listing of any known creditors and account numbers
    g. Copies of last year’s tax returns; and
    h. Paid Funeral Receipt for your loved one’s service and burial.
  7. Consider contacting an estate and trust attorney to assist in the estate settlement process. A review of information on this site may give you an idea of the scope of the settlement and whether it is something you may be able to accomplish yourself. Contact Brady Cobin Law, your Raleigh Estate Planning Attorney for an initial consultation – (919) 782-3500