The death of a loved one is a difficult time. Dealing with grief while trying to figure out the right steps to take when a loved one dies can be overwhelming. At Munsch Hardt, our Texas probate attorneys work hard to minimize the stress of this process on the loved ones of the deceased.
The steps to take when a loved one dies in Texas are different depending on each person’s life and circumstances. This list will give you a good idea of where to start.
1. Make Funeral Arrangements.
In the first few days after a loved one passes away, the first major step is handling the funeral arrangements. As estate planning has become more common in recent years, it’s important to check for pre-paid funeral contracts that your loved one might have or instructions they may have left about the type of services they wanted.
When making arrangements, keep all receipts of the expenditures so that these may be recovered from the deceased’s estate when the probate process is completed.
2. Make Notifications
If your loved one worked, then you should contact their employer to let them know of the death and also to determine whether your loved one had any work-related death benefits. It’s also important to notify the Social Security Administration, as well as Veterans Affairs if the deceased ever served in the military.
If creditors contact you regarding your loved one’s accounts, let them know of the death. Do not agree to pay anything for your loved one or sign anything related to the accounts before speaking to an attorney.
3. Look For Life Insurance Policies
In some cases, a loved one will have told beneficiaries about a life insurance policy they would receive. This isn’t always the case, though. Look for any policies your loved one may have had and, if you are the beneficiary, contact the insurance company to request a claim form.
4. Look For A Will
There are many safe places where people keep their wills. If you aren’t able to find it in their home, try checking with the deceased’s banks to find out if they had a safe deposit box. While this is an important step, it’s not urgent to complete in the immediate aftermath of the loss of a loved one. Generally, the will must be submitted for probate within four years of a person’s death.
5. Contact A Probate Attorney
One of the best steps to take when a loved one dies is to contact a probate attorney after you’ve located the will or if you know your loved one didn’t have a will. An experienced attorney can help make the process of probating an estate as quick and painless as possible.