My Parent Passed Away. Now What?

parent_passed_awayThe loss of a parent is never easy. Whether it comes unexpectedly or after a long struggle with illness, the grief and sadness are equally intense. In addition to the emotional challenges faced by those left behind, the passing of a parent can leave children, the surviving spouse, and other close relatives with numerous estate planning and practical challenges as well.

While simultaneously dealing with the trauma of loss, adult children need to take a number of steps shortly after a parent’s death and in the weeks that follow to ensure that his or her affairs are appropriately handled and resolved. Doing so expeditiously can help you avoid problems in the future.

Consider Hiring an Estate Administration Attorney to Help You

It can be difficult to know where to start, and it can be even more challenging to feel confident that you’ve done all that you needed to do after your mother or father passes away. That is why many individuals, especially if named a personal representative of a parent’s estate, retain an experienced estate administration attorney to help them navigate the process. That lawyer can answer your questions, assist with required actions, and tie up all loose ends involving your parent’s estate.

First Steps After Your Parent’s Passing

Immediately after your parent’s death, the top priority is taking care of burial arrangements, providing for the immediate needs of any dependents, pets, or property, and notifying loved ones, employers, and other important parties about your loved one’s passing.

Additionally, you will want to take care of:

  • Acquiring a legal pronouncement of death
  • Obtaining multiple copies of the death certificate
  • Locating a will, trust, or other estate planning documents prepared by your parent
  • Arranging the funeral, burial, or cremation (your parent may have already prepaid for such services)
  • Notifying your parent’s doctor or the county coroner
  • Notifying close family and friends, including delegating some notification tasks to others if you feel that it would be helpful and appropriate
  • Contacting your parent’s employer and asking about benefits, insurance, pay, or other amounts which may be owed
  • Contacting your parent’s lawyer, financial advisor, and bank to gather information and documentation about your parent’s assets
  • Contacting your parent’s life insurance agent, if any, to start the claims process
  • Asking a friend or relative to keep an eye on your parent’s home, answer the phone, collect mail, throw out perishable food, and water plants
  • Advising Social Security (800-772-1213; socialsecurity.gov) and other agencies from which the deceased received benefits, such as Veterans Affairs (800-827-1000; va.gov), to stop payments and ask about applicable survivor benefits

While there is, indeed, a lot to handle after a parent dies, you don’t need to do it alone. The estate administration attorneys at Kreis Enderle can provide you with much-needed support and guidance that can ease many of your burdens during a difficult time.

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