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Steps to Take When a Loved One Passes Away

Evans and Davis is here to answer any and all questions that arise and guide you through this difficult time.

For assistance navigating the trust administration process, please call (866) 708-2235 or email attorneys@evansdavis.com.

Within the first 48 hours, you should:

  • Notify immediate family & close friends
  • Arrange for care of dependents, if any
  • Notify the attending physician or coroner
  • Handle the donation of bodily organs to an "organ bank" if appropriate
  • Arrange care for pets, if any
  • Find & review the decedent's expressed funeral and burial wishes
  • Meet with a trusted local funeral home
  • Locate social security card, driver's license, passport, birth certificate, Native American ID

Within the First Week:

  • Contact Evans & Davis at (866) 708-2335 to schedule a consultation
  • Locate Wills, Codicils & Trusts
  • Evaluate the emotional impact on the surviving relatives & friends; arrange for support
  • Evaluate the need for security at the Decedent's residence
  • Find perishable property (food, plants, etc.) & arrange for care or disposal
  • If military, contact the appropriate branch of service & provide 48-hour notice for funeral services
  • Investigate veterans burial allowance and other benefits
  • Notify the agent under any power of attorney
  • Prepare and arrange for an obituary
  • Arrange for mortuary, cemetery, burial, cremation, as appropriate
  • Arrange funeral/burial services
  • Notify other members of family & friends
  • Contact Social Security, Medicaid, & other agencies as appropriate
  • Obtain death certificates, 10-15 will be appropriate
  • DO NOT pay any of the Decedent's outstanding utility, medical, and credit card bills until the attorney discusses with the family, executor, or successor trustee
  • Keep all records of all payments for funeral and other expenses
  • Change utility bills from Decendent's name

First Month:

  • Cancel or rearrange home deliveries or subscriptions
  • Have the post office hold mail or transfer it to a new address
  • Locate safe deposit box(es) & keys
  • Locate Personal Property Memorandum, if any
  • Locate beneficiaries of Decedent's estate plan
  • Locate life insurance policies
  • Locate other important documents, relationships, accounts, investments, etc.
  • Locate any real property, deeds, or minerals titled in Decedent's name
  • Investigate Social Security benefits & life insurance
  • Investigate union death benefits for unions and fraternal organizations
  • Investigate employee benefits, including accrued vacation pay, death benefits, final wages, retirement plans, deferred compensation, & medical reimbursements
  • Investigate refunds on insurance or canceled subscriptions
  • Investigate 401K, IRA, or other employee retirement benefits
  • Determine if the Decedent owned interest in a business or investments and acquire corporate documents, buy-sell agreements, etc.
  • Retain and meet with CPA as to tax and accounting matters
  • Meet with your attorney and life insurance agent to collect death benefits or consider other options
  • Locate and handle any fire, theft, liability & auto insurance on Decedent's property (real estate, vehicles, etc.)
  • Work with attorney and CPA to prepare an inventory of assets, i.e., list of accounts, debts, & liabilities
  • Review credit cards and charge accounts, cancel as appropriate
  • Evaluate any loans remaining in the Decedent's name and if they should be paid, dismissed, or retitled
  • In conjunction with your attorney, obtain a tax/FEIN number for the estate or trust from the IRS

Three to Six Months:

  • Obtain valuations or appraisals of assets, as appropriate
  • Arrange for final income tax return & estate tax return, as necessary
  • Notify Equifax
  • Change mortgage to surviving spouse, if appropriate
  • Conduct estate sale, if necessary

Six Months to One Year:

  • If Trust is involved, arrange for any allocations and transfers after your attorney has prepared appropriate release for the beneficiaries to sign
  • File probate, if needed
  • Work to finalize trust administration
  • File final tax returns
  • Tie up any loose ends