When a loved one dies, there are so many different things that you must do. This includes planning a funeral, dealing with final expenses, and ensuring that everything goes according to your loved one’s wishes. In this article, learn more about what to do if your loved one dies without drafting a will.
Search For a Will
One of the most important things you must do following your loved one’s death is to search for a will. Your loved one might have drafted a will without telling you about it. You will need to find it so that you can know what your loved one’s wishes were for the distribution of their estate. You should start with speaking with family members and close friends about any wills that they may have heard about. If no one knows anything, then you could search for a file in your loved one’s office or home.
A will typically names who the deceased loved and how that individual’s property should be distributed. If a will cannot be found, it is likely that your loved one’s property will be distributed according to state law. This could lead to family members with whom your loved one was not on good terms inheriting their property instead of those whom they would have preferred.
Wills Don’t Expire
Wills don’t expire. Even an older will is better than not having a will at all. If you are not sure whether your loved one has a will, then it is important to have a search done. It is crucial that you don’t let time run out or else risk making mistakes that could negatively affect the distribution of your loved one’s estate.
You should also make a list of all the assets that your loved one had. This includes property, vehicles, life insurance policies, and bank accounts. Each of these things will need to be distributed according to your loved one’s wishes. If you don’t know what they wanted, then you will need to follow the law which means dividing up their assets between their living children and their spouse.
Gather Financial Statements and Tax Returns
You should also gather the financial statements and tax returns that your loved one had in order to determine how much money they had. These are two of the most important things that you will need to do to see how much income your loved one was making. This will help you determine if there is any money left over for their final expenses, such as a funeral or burial.
Schedule an Appointment with an Attorney ASAP
If you do not have the answers to these questions, then it is time to contact an attorney. An attorney may be able to help you determine how much money your loved one had and what their estate plan was. The attorney will also be able to guide you when searching for a will so that they can find the one that was drafted in your loved one’s final days, as well as to deal with the process of managing an estate without drafting a will. An attorney can also help you determine if there was anything left over after paying off debts and final expenses.
You will likely have a lot on your plate right after the death of a loved one. You do not need to navigate the process alone. Schedule an appointment with a lawyer as soon as you can so that you can continue with the grieving process while also being sure that everything is done according to your loved one’s wishes. Contact Handin Law to schedule an appointment with our legal team to discuss the next steps in the process of handling your loved one’s estate.