You may be wondering what legal issues you need to deal with when a loved one passes away. There are a number of important questions to ask yourself, such as who will pay for funeral expenses, who will handle finances, and other legal issues. If the deceased left behind a will, it may be wise to look over it carefully. If they didn’t, you might be left to make decisions on your own.
A deceased person’s wishes should include instructions on where his or her money and property will go after his or her death. You may have discussed this with your loved one before they passed away. If you are unsure of where the will is, you can search for it in other important documents. Most people name an executor in their will to handle the estate settlement and make necessary decisions. However, this person doesn’t need to be involved in every step of the process. If you can’t locate the will, the probate court will appoint an administrator in place of an executor.
Whether your loved one passed away unexpectedly or suffered a life-threatening illness, it is important to plan for their final days. While funeral expenses and death certificates are important, the majority of people don’t think about these issues. Thankfully, there are a number of legal issues that you need to address when a loved one passes away. You may be surprised to learn that preparing for an upcoming death is much simpler than you think. The following will give you some guidelines.
To begin with, you must obtain a copy of the deceased’s estate plan documents. If your loved one had an estate plan, their attorney should have them on hand. If they didn’t, you should make an appointment with an estate and trusts attorney in the state where the deceased resided. The lawyer will be able to provide you with advice on what to do with these documents.
A death certificate and a statement of assets and liabilities should be obtained immediately. You should also contact your loved one’s personal physician and attorney to get forwarding information for mail, phone calls, and appointments. You should also contact any utilities and cable TV companies. Remember, utilities may still need to be paid for and it is your duty to notify them. You should also notify your family members and friends about the death.
Once your loved one passes away, you must decide on a successor. If the deceased had no will, then their next of kin will receive the estate. The next of kin can be different from the successor. A new successor can take over if there is no Will. It is also important to identify a person to care for a surviving family member. You can do this by naming the next of kin as the beneficiary.
A person who is named as the executor or administrator of the estate of the deceased must go to the court to file a petition to settle the deceased’s estate. A letter of authority from the clerk of the court is often required to access the estate’s property. Contact the clerk of court for the appropriate North Carolina county. If you are not able to find this letter, you may need to file for a court case.