Estate Planning: Surviving Spouse

No one really wants to think about what it will be like when their loved one passes away.  It is hard enough for people to take the step to plan for such an event—let alone really understand the steps they will have to take when that time comes. Administering ones estate that has passed away is a process.  Understanding the process beforehand helps to ease the stress and confusion when the time comes.

My Spouse Passed—What Now?

The first step is to call your estate planning attorney and notify them of your loved ones passing.  They will set an appointment to meet with you to go over any documents they have on file.  You will be asked to bring copies of any bank statements, mortgage statements, life insurance statements, brokerage statements, and tax returns.  You will want to create a list of all assets owned or jointly owned by the deceased to bring to your meeting. You will want to make sure to include the titling of each asset on the list.

At The Estate Administration Meeting

During your initial estate administration meeting, the attorney will go over what the Will states along with any Trust instructions. The executor of the estate will be named.  This is the person that is in charge of making sure the instructions listed by the deceased are carried out.  If you would like the attorney to help you administer your loved ones estate, you must retain them for those services.  Estate administration attorneys assist people in filing forms with the courts when necessary, change titling of assets, create trusts as instructed, and update estate plans after a loved one has passed.

Be Patient-It’s a Process

Administering even the most sound estate plan is a process.  Taking the necessary steps beforehand can definitely make the process much smoother.  Understanding that no matter what, when a loved one passes away there will be steps that have to be taken to ensure their wished are fulfilled helps to ease the pressure when the time actually arrives.