When a Loved One Passes Away – Steps to Take Even If You Think There Is No “Probate” Estate
December 18, 2006
The passing of a parent, spouse, partner or good friend is never easy to address or contemplate. In addition to the physical and emotional loss, the mere thought of navigating through the legal system is frequently overwhelming.
Generally speaking, if your loved one passes away and clearly has significant assets in his or her own name, i.e. stocks, bonds or other securities; partnership business assets; bank accounts; real estate and other assets, it is helpful to engage the counsel and assistance of an experienced estate administration attorney to provide guidance and help through the complex probate process.
Even if there is not a formal probate, certain steps should be taken. Some of them include:
- Checking for abandoned property
- Filing the Will with the appropriate court
- Changing title to jointly owned assets
- Contemplating whether Estate Tax Returns are due
One of the first things you should address is whether your loved one left a valid Last Will and Testament. When this happens, he or she is said to have died, “testate,” and where no Will is found or properly executed, (signed), then the decedent is said to have died, “intestate.”
If you think that a Will was properly signed by your loved one, but you can’t locate the original document, …
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by: Lisa L. Halbert, Esquire
November 13, 2006