The death of a loved one is an event that you may experience at least once in your lifetime. It is a time of grief but it is also a time to carry out the final wishes and financial affairs of the deceased. There are state and federal laws to follow but there is an abundance of information available to guide you through the process.
An inventory of assets needs to be taken and liquidation should not occur for at least 30 days so that the true value of the estate can be determined. Funeral arrangements can be very emotional so don’t let excessive costs overspend your budget for burial expenses. Multiple copies of the death certificate will be needed because most banks, mortgage companies, insurance companies, and other vested entities will require them. Depending on the size of the estate, probate may not be necessary to execute the will.
When is Probate Necessary?
Not all wills need to be filed through probate court. Property such as money in bank accounts, retirement accounts, and insurance death benefits do not go through the probate process. Most states have a simplified probate procedure for small estates or there may be an exemption amount that will not require any probate proceedings. Professionals, like those at Leon J. Teichner & Associates, P.C., know that large estates must go through probate court. Probate will determine the validity of a will, debts and property will be appraised, and claims of the estate will be collected. The assistance of a probate lawyer will ensure that all laws are followed and legal questions are answered. It may be more costly to handle probate procedures without an attorney.
Taxes after Death
There are federal and state estate taxes with exemption amounts. Some forms of income are taxable to the estate or beneficiaries. Common examples of income are wages, medical savings accounts, royalties, and professional fees. A tax accountant should be consulted to answer questions about any taxes owed.
Small but Necessary Tasks
The final tasks that need to be done after your loved one’s death may seem trivial but it is important to finalize even the small duties. Utility companies need to be notified, bank accounts should be closed, mail delivery and membership accounts need to be stopped, and personal notes of gratitude are well appreciated by friends and family.
Being a survivor of a loved one is hard but managing the final affairs of the deceased can be your final labor of love for someone you shared your life with. Making funeral arrangements, paying final debts, and closing accounts are necessary ways to say your final goodbye.
Author Info: Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber.