do i need a lawyer when my parents died

by Aletha Kessler PhD 6 min read

While you don't need an attorney to settle an estate, having one makes things easier. If the estate is worth more than $50,000, Harbison suggests that you hire a lawyer to help navigate the process and distribute assets. “Estates can get complicated, fast,” he says. The executor should pick the attorney.Mar 18, 2022

What do you have to do when a parent dies?

What to Do When a Parent DiesGet a pronouncement of death. ... Contact your parent's friends and family. ... Secure your parent's home. ... Make funeral and burial plans. ... Get copies of the death certificate. ... Locate life insurance policies. ... Locate the will and start the probate process. ... Take inventory of assets and financial accounts.More items...•

What things do you need to do when someone dies?

What you need to do straight away after a death.Get a medical certificate.Register the death.Arrange the funeral.In the weeks following the death.Notify the person's landlord and other organisations.Notify government departments.Return the person's passport and driving licence.More items...

What happens to a bank account when someone dies?

Most joint bank accounts include automatic rights of survivorship, which means that after one account signer dies, the remaining signer (or signers) retain ownership of the money in the account. The surviving primary account owner can continue using the account, and the money in it, without any interruptions.

Who notifies the bank when someone dies?

Family members or next of kin generally notify the bank when a client passes. It can also be someone who was appointed by a court to handle the deceased's financial affairs. There are also times when the bank leans of a client's passing through probate.

What to do if you don't receive a death certificate?

You will need a death certificate to claim certain benefits, and for the estate process as well. If you need additional copies of the death certificate, you should contact your local Department of Vital Records.

What happens if you don't open a probate estate?

If you fail to open a probate estate, you could be liable for taxes and other claims. Even if you do not think a probate estate is necessary, it is important to discuss your options with an experienced estate attorney.

Why is it important to notify everyone you know when a loved one dies?

You should also contact an estate attorney about the notification process, including required death notices in the local newspapers and elsewhere. This will provide the notification you need to protect yourself legally and prevent others from contesting the estate.

What to expect after a loved one dies?

The days and weeks following the death of a loved one can seem like a blur. The grieving process is difficult enough, but there will also be a funeral to plan, relatives to notify and financial issues to handle . Meeting with an estate attorney as soon as possible can ease your burden and make a difficult time easier to bear.

How to contact an estate attorney in Arizona?

Call Arizona Estate Attorney Dave Weed at (480)426-8359 to discuss your case today.

How to protect assets in a death?

The best way to protect the assets is to open the estate right away. The court will name an executive or personal representative, and that individual will be charged with protecting the assets and distributing them in accordance with the wishes of the deceased.

Do debts disappear when someone dies?

There is a great deal of confusion about how debts are handled when an individual dies. Some people think that these debts simply disappear when the debtor dies, but that is not always the case. While some debts are forgiven on death, others follow the deceased and become part of the estate. The good news is that the family members ...

3 attorney answers

Colorado law requires the will to be "lodged" with the probate, or district, court in the county of her residence at the time of her death. If she has left a self-proving will, then your sister can challenge that, but she will have a heavy lift.

E Dwight Taylor

First off, there is no such thing as "reading" the will. A will is only enforceable once it has been submitted to the probate court for administration of the estate, and a personal representative is appointed by the Court.

Michael A Kirtland

The will has to be filed with the probate court in the county where your mother lived at the time of her death. Your sister can file a will caveat if she chooses. Whether she has grounds or will prevail is a different matter.

When do you have to file a will for your parents?

Your parent's will must, therefore, be filed with the probate court shortly after his death if he held a bank account or any other property in his sole name. This begins the probate process to legally distribute his property to his living beneficiaries.

What happens if you don't leave a will?

When There's Not a Will. The deceased's property must still pass through probate to accomplish the transfer of ownership, even if he didn't leave a will . The major difference is that his property will pass according to state law rather than according to his wishes as explained in a will. 3 .

What does POA mean in a power of attorney?

The POA gave you the authority to act on his behalf in a number of financial situations, such as buying or selling a property for him or maybe just paying his bills.

What happens if your parent names you as co-owner of his bank account?

But if your parent listed you as co-owner of his bank account or even on the deed to his home, giving you "rights of survivorship," the account or the property passes automatically and directly to you at his death. Probate of these assets would not be necessary. 8

Who is the executor of a deceased person's estate?

The two roles are divided by the event of the death. In some cases, however, the agent in the POA might also be named as executor or administrator of the estate.

Who can deal with a POA?

His estate owns it, so only the executor or the administrator of his estate can deal with it during the probate process. 1 .

Do you need probate for a small estate?

Some very small estates don 't require probate, or your parent might have used a living trust as her estate-planning method rather than a last will and testament so probate would not be required. 5  A successor trustee would take over after the deceased's death if he left a revocable living trust, but these exceptions are limited. 6 

How to avoid probate problems?

To avoid problems, hold off on all distributions and secure property as soon as you can, even if you do not begin probate or the inventory process immediately. Of course, this does not apply to gifts your loved one may have made while they were alive, which are not considered part of their estate. Take Time.

How long does it take to file a will after death?

Some states require that a will be filed with the probate court within 30 days of death. Take the time to grieve, but don’t risk additional stress and costs with a lengthy delay. Meet with an Attorney.

How long does probate take?

A probate court supervises the entire process, which usually takes about a year, depending on the size and complexity of the estate. The responsibility of overseeing this process ultimately falls to whomever was appointed executor or personal representative in the decedent’s will.

What are administrative expenses in probate?

Some, like utility bills, storage fees to secure belongings and mortgage payments are considered administrative expenses. These accounts must be kept current throughout the probate process. If you use any of your own money to pay these expenses, be sure to keep meticulous records.

What happens when a spouse passes away?

The spouse who passed away may have handled all of the couple’s finances, leaving the other uninformed and overwhelmed. Or perhaps a caregiver must begin probating an estate which he or she knows little about. In some cases, the estate itself may be in disarray or scattered among many accounts.

Where to file a petition to be executor of a deceased person?

File as an Executor. To be appointed executor or personal representative, file a petition at the probate court in the county where your loved one was living before they died.

What is the best way to start probate?

Tips for Starting Probate. Secure Tangible Property. This means anything you can touch, such as silverware, dishes, furniture and artwork. Once probate formally begins, you will need to determine accurate values of each piece of property, which may require appraisals, so they can be distributed properly.

What is the transfer of a deceased parent's home?

There is one way for the ownership of your deceased parents’ home to transfer to you as easily as it does in the movies: the transfer on death deed. Also known as a beneficiary deed, this type of deed lets you inherit the property directly and immediately without the time, hassle and expense of probate.

What happens when you sell a house you inherited from your parents?

When you sell a house you’ve inherited from your parents, you’ll have a long to-do list in front of you. However, you can reduce some of the stress if you simply work through the process step-by-step:

How long does it take to get a house sold during probate?

While probate laws vary from state to state, expect the complex process to take a while, from several months up to a year or two. Depending on the laws in the state where your home is located, the courts may play a role in when and how the home is sold during probate.

What is the best way to deal with multiple heirs?

A trust is usually the best scenario when there are multiple heirs. “If your parents placed their home in a living trust , then the trust should dictate which heir makes the decisions regarding the sale of the house,” says McKee.

Who calls the shots when selling your parents home?

If your parents’ will, or the probate court, has appointed a personal representative (or executor, or administrator ), then that person typically calls the shots when selling your parents’ home. The heirs aren’t the only parties interested in the dispensation of your parents’ estate.

Do children inherit their parents' house?

Most adult children know they’ll be inheriting their parents’ home one day, but too few understand exactly how the house will pass into their hands. You need to know the steps your parents took to give you ownership of the inherited property before you can even think about selling the house.

Is money from a parent's house taxable?

By this definition, any money you make from the sale of your parents’ house after they die is technically taxable via the capital gains tax code. Fortunately, there is a tax break or loophole known as step up in basis that can greatly reduce the amount that qualifies for the capital gains tax.

What happens when your father dies?

As soon as your father died, his property became his probate estate. If he left a will, his property will probably be distributed according to its terms by the probate court. You must complete certain steps to get the probate process started.

What information is needed for probate?

The application for probate will probably request only basic information such as your father's name and the name of the estate executor he appointed. Once you have delivered these documents to the probate court clerk, the court will set a hearing date and notify the executor. The executor and the probate court handle all further probate ...

What happens after the waiting period expires for a will?

After the waiting period expires, the probate court makes a final determination as to how estate property is to be distributed and to allow the executor to distribute it.

How to distribute estate assets to your father?

A valid will is necessary to distribute estate assets in accordance with your father's wishes. It should be printed and signed by your father or by someone authorized to sign on your father's behalf. Some states accept handwritten wills but not all so know your state's restrictions. Many states require at least two witnesses to sign the will as well. The will must contain original signatures -- in other words, it can't be a photocopy of the will your father actually signed. If your father's will doesn't appear to meet these requirements, search his belongings to see if he executed another will that does meet these requirements.

What does the executor of an estate do?

Estate Assets. The executor must catalog all estate property. He must pay off all of your father's creditors before distributing any property to heirs, even if this means selling estate assets to raise cash to pay debts. He must also collect any money owed to the estate such as your father's last paycheck or a tax refund.

What happens if a will is not invalid?

The judge will examine it to determine if it appears to be valid. If the will is not obviously invalid, he will issue an order admitting it to probate. He will also formally appoint the estate executor. In almost all cases, the judge will appoint the executor named in the will. The judge will then issue documents to the executor ...

Who appoints the executor of a will?

In almost all cases, the judge will appoint the executor named in the will. The judge will then issue documents to the executor that establish his authority to perform duties such as withdrawing money from your father's bank account or selling estate assets. He may authorize the executor to distribute a stipend to your father's dependents ...

Do you have to probate your parents estate?

Sooner or later you will have to probate your parents' estate, certainly before you try to refinance or sell it. Or, you can wait and your children and heirs will then have to probate your and their grandparents' estates as well. This is not a good plan and you should take care of this without more delay.

Do you need probate if your parents are deceased?

In estates where both parents are deceased and a home remains in their name, there is most likely a need for some type of formal probate of their estates in order to transfer title of the parents’ real property to either the heirs (if no will) or beneficiaries (if they had a will) or some combination of the two.

How to claim money from your parents?

You can claim the money by presenting the bank with your parents' death certificates and proof of your identity.

Can you close an estate bank account?

If you are conducting a probate court proceeding, then you'll have written authorization (usually called Letters of Administration or something similar) from the probate court, which will open doors for you. You can close the account and transfer the funds to the estate bank account.

Can you claim a small estate?

If the estate is small enough, under state law, to qualify for "small estate" procedures instead of regular probate , you may be able to claim the property with a simple affidavit, in which you swear that you are entitled to the money under state law. Or you may be able to use simplified (summary) probate procedures. Your state may offer one or both of these methods.

Can you close a checking account if you are a beneficiary?

If you are named as a POD beneficiary on the account, or if you're managing the estate in a probate proceeding, closing the checking account and getting the funds should be fairly easy.