Loss of a Loved One
The loss of a loved one can be an overwhelming experience. Dealing with your emotions as you settle that person's estate can make the job even more difficult.
Not everyone has a lot of property, but most adults have some affairs that must be finalized. Closing an estate of any size requires time and effort. Here are some ways to make the job easier.
Step 1: Get help if you need it
Fees for these advisors are generally high. To reduce costs, shop around for prices and do as much background work as you can on your own (for example, a lawyer may charge you $150 to hand-deliver papers you could pick up yourself). Agree on a charge, know what it covers and get it in writing.
Step 2: Collect all documents
Unless you are the executor of the will, you'll need a lawyer to help you retrieve these important documents if they are kept in a safe deposit box. Once you've gathered everything together, start a written record and keep track of your progress.
Note: Complete this step as quickly as possible. Some items, like Social Security benefits, have filing deadlines. Also, don't throw anything away. Even if premiums haven’t been paid recently, insurance policies may still be active.
Step 3: Make copies of legal certificates
Step 4: Contact the following organizations
Step 5: Transfer titles
Step 6: Taxes