After a death, it’s vital that family members take legal considerations into account. This helps ensure that the following days can be spent grieving and planning a funeral, while personal and financial assets are taken care of.
It’s not a necessity to hire a lawyer through this process, although Griffith-Cline highly recommend that you do so. Lawyers help you work through difficult decisions and trivial matters without bias or emotions. Upon contacting a lawyer, make sure that you have these documents ready:
Vehicle and Boat titles
Here are some other legal considerations that may help ease your stress so that you can focus on what truly matters: honoring your loved one:
Getting a Death Certificate
Before any proceedings or planning can take place, you’ll need to get a Certified Death Certificate. You can obtain this document through your Funeral Director. We recommend getting multiple copies, as some agencies that you may deal with will not accept a photocopy of the certificate.
Bank Accounts and Information
What happens to your loved one’s bank account after their passing? This ranges between states. In any case, you should contact their bank immediately and discuss the necessary procedures to release these funds safely.
Try and keep a joint account open for a length of time after their passing, in case there are any checks that still need to clear.
Does Your Loved One Have an Executor?
An executor is the person who represents your estate, in charge of paying off debts, controlling your assets, and distributing them to the beneficiaries on your will.
If you’re in the midst of choosing an executor, be aware that you can choose anyone, but it’s important that they are trustworthy and of able mind.
Create a Will
Creating your will is inexpensive and relatively easy, offering you space to write down what must happen once you’re gone. However, many people still don’t have a written will. To create a legally binding will, it must be:
- Written when you’re over 18 years of age and of a sound mind
- Be signed and dated
- Be signed by 2 or 3 witnesses who will not inherit anything on the will
- Be typed on the computer or written on a typewriter
- Clearly state that it is your will
After it is written, have a lawyer look over it to ensure that it is a legal will, and keep it in a safe space such as a safe or a lock box.
We’re always available to help guide you towards the answers and assistance you need after a death. Simply call us at (941) 212-0121 to discuss your needs with a funeral professional.