When you lose someone you love, wrapping up their final affairs is the last thing on your mind. You may need time to recover from the shock or grieve in private. This is especially the case if the person lived with you in Colorado or shared a close legal or blood relationship, such as a spouse or parent. Unfortunately, modern-day life means that legal requirements often infiltrate the grieving process.
The trouble is knowing where to start. USA Today recommends requesting death certificates as the first step. You may be able to get this through the funeral home. Several of the parties you work with during the wrapping up process may need copies of the death certificate before proceeding. This includes financial institutions, government agencies and the deceased person’s service providers.
The next step is dealing with probate. If your loved one left a will behind, it may have named an executor. This individual becomes responsible for ensuring that the distribution of property is in line with the deceased person’s final wishes. If your loved one named you as an executor, ensure that you receive letters testamentary to prove that you have the legal authority to handle their affairs.
The next step is getting in touch with entities they owe money and that hold their money. This includes banks, insurance companies and service providers. Note that once you notify the bank of a person’s death, they may freeze the assets, so prepare for losing access to these funds for a time.
The final step is notifying government agencies. This is especially important if the person, their spouse or their children received or will receive benefits. Sometimes spouses and even ex-spouses may qualify to continue to receive the deceased’s benefits after they pass.
This article shares information from USA Today on the steps to take after a loved one passes away. It should not be used in place of legal advice.