The death of a loved one is typically a time for grief and remembrance. Unfortunately, it is also a time of stress. Many people who have just lost a loved one feel anxiety on top of their sorrow because they do not know what to do when a loved one dies. Below are four basic steps.
- Contact a funeral home. The funeral home can help with funeral and burial or cremation arrangements, publish an obituary, and order the death certificate. If the deceased was a veteran, the funeral home can also contact the local Veterans Administration office, which may provide assistance such as funeral preparations, a burial plot, and an American flag for the funeral, among other things.
- Locate estate plan documents. During their lifetime, your loved one may have prepared estate planning documents such as a Will and a Trust. These documents will provide instructions on how to distribute the decedent’s property. Also, Illinois law requires that a person’s Will be filed with the local Court Clerk’s Office within 30 days after their death. Failure to timely file a Will in your possession could result in criminal charges.
- Consult with an attorney. An attorney who practices probate law or estate administration can review your loved one’s estate plan documents and explain the next steps you should take. The next steps will often include identifying and inventorying your loved one’s assets and debts, determining which bills to pay, determining whether a probate case must be filed with the courts, and determining how to distribute the decedent’s property. Be sure to ask the attorney what unnecessary services you can cancel, such as magazine subscriptions, cable t.v. services, club memberships, cell phone plans, credit cards, and more.
- Consult with a tax professional. The IRS may require the filing of a final tax return for the decedent as well as a tax return for the decedent’s estate. You should consult with a tax professional who can help prepare and file the necessary returns.
The lawyers at DeBlasio & Gower LLC can help guide you through the administration of a loved one’s estate and the probate courts. For a free consultation, contact our David Gower directly at 630.560.1114 or via email at gower@DGLLC.net.
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