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Settling Someone’s Estate: A Basic How-to

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Settling Someone’s Estate: A Basic How-to

Settling an estate is certainly a trying process, to put it mildly, particularly if you are among the grieving. However, there are methods and steps to follow which can help to at least ease the proves for those involved. Settling the estate of the dearly departed means to safeguard that person’s property during the administration process, paying off any taxes or debts owed, and breaking down and distributing the assets of said estate to those who are entitled to it. With that said, if you are looking for a Florida based probate attorney, to help with settling a loved one’s estate, here are the basic steps to follow.

#1. Initial steps

Before anything, there are some basic, practical steps to take to get everything started. First off, if it’s unclear at this stage, it’s important to determine right away who the executor or trustee. Consult with an attorney to learn this. Next is to set up care for any dependents of the deceased. This includes children and stay-at-home spouses. There’s also stuff like keeping track of the mail so you can identify the person’s address, paying off any remaining bills, and looking for any kind of will and testament left behind.

#2. Notifications

Obviously not everyone, even including people the deceased person has interacted with, is going to be immediately aware that they’ve died. So, the next step is to notify as many officials as you can that this person has passed on. This includes their credit card companies, in order to protect the person against fraud, the person’s employer, if they were employed at their time of death, so the final paychecks can be delivered, and so any benefits can be identified by the employer. If the person was a U.S. veteran, you’ll need to notify veteran affairs, and finally you’ll have to notify the social security administration if they were receiving social security checks.

#3. Distributing assets

How the assets are distributed depends on whether or not they actually left a last will and testament. There is a certain legal process to administering the property, the failure to follow which can result in the trustee or executor facing serious legal repercussions. This is certainly a step you want to already have a probate attorney on hand to help you deal with. They can walk you through this complicated process, and help you come out the other side relatively fine.

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