What to Do When a Loved One Dies
When a loved one passes away, a variety of complex emotions are likely to follow, from sadness to anger to panic. The average cost of a funeral in the United States is between $7,000 and $12,000—much more of an expense than the average American is prepared for. When death is sudden or unexpected, or a loved one has not prepared a will or estate plan, the anxiety surrounding finances can be magnified.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused many Americans to consider their mortality more seriously, some for the very first time, and organize a comprehensive plan for the future. Those who have lost family members recently may have come face to face with the reality of two unpleasant certainties in life: death and taxes.
Following the death of a loved one, you will likely find that navigating the legal minefield alone is intimidating and overwhelming. It is necessary to meet with an experienced lawyer with a sophisticated understanding of estate planning and all it entails.
Estate planning encompasses a variety of different provisions that enable the distribution of assets following the death of an individual, including wills and trusts. Contrary to what many people believe, a will is not the only option—it is merely more common and often preferable.
Handling Wills and Trusts
While estate plans vary by individual, your loved one may have chosen to execute a will due to the simplicity and convenience it permits following death. A will not only speed up the process of asset distribution following death, it strongly minimizes the involvement of the court.
On the other hand, if your loved one was a business owner or owned property out of state, a will may have not adequately covered all their needs. Instead, they may have executed a trust.
It is strongly advised to consult an attorney who is equipped with the legal expertise to help you adequately handle either a will or trust. During times of grief, confusion and fear can cause family members to make errors of judgment.