do you need a lawyer when someone dies

by Ron Kihn 3 min read

When someone dies, you’ll need a lawyer in a few different scenarios. If the person did not do any estate planning, then you may need help with probate. If the estate is large, contains complicated assets like a business, family members or other loved ones are fighting, the estate doesn’t have the money to pay back debts, or the estate owes taxes, then having a lawyer on your side is necessary.

Many executors decide, sometime during the process of winding up an estate, that they could use some legal advice from a lawyer who's familiar with local probate procedure . But if you're handling an estate that's straightforward and not too large, you may find that you can get by just fine without professional help.

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What happens to a power of attorney when someone dies?

Sep 21, 2015 · If your loved one passed suddenly, you may need to wrap your thoughts around what has happened. After you’ve had some time to heal, it’s a good idea to speak with a qualified estate administration attorney. You will want to make sure you are proceeding in a legal manner with regard to your loved one’s estate plan and financial assets.

Do I need a lawyer to handle an estate?

The probate attorneys at Fair Share Lawyers put together a list of steps to take and things to know when a loved one dies. If you have questions about the management of your loved one’s estate or the probate process, call us anytime at (888) 694-1761 to get answers. 10 Things to Know After the Death of a Loved One. Download PDF

Do I have to file for probate when someone dies?

Oct 23, 2021 · After someone dies, family members will need to locate all of the decedent's important papers. It will give family members and, if necessary, the estate attorney assisting the family with settling the decedent's final affairs, all of the pertinent information needed to complete probate or the trust settlement process .

What to do when someone dies without a will?

Feb 10, 2022 · While you do not want to get into who gets what right after the death of a loved one, you will want to speak to your lawyer right away to get the ball rolling. Ask about applying for an EIN as the executor. The rest of the documents are ones that you will need to find or obtain from their personal effects. Here is what you will likely need to find.


How do you probate a will without a lawyer?

How to probate a will without a lawyer1) Petition the court to be the estate representative. ... 2) Notify heirs and creditors. ... 3) Change legal ownership of assets. ... 4) Pay funeral expenses, taxes, debts and transfer assets to heirs. ... 5) Tell the court what you have done and close the estate.Jul 4, 2021

What has to be done when someone dies?

To Do Immediately After Someone DiesGet a legal pronouncement of death. ... Tell friends and family. ... Find out about existing funeral and burial plans. ... Make funeral, burial or cremation arrangements. ... Secure the property. ... Provide care for pets. ... Forward mail. ... Notify your family member's employer.More items...•Jun 11, 2020

Do you have to go to probate when someone dies?

If you are named in someone's will as an executor, you may have to apply for probate. This is a legal document which gives you the authority to share out the estate of the person who has died according to the instructions in the will. You do not always need probate to be able to deal with the estate.

Who handles finances after death?

If there is a will or trust, it will be the executor and/or trustee named in those documents. When there is no will, "You have to figure out who's in charge then," Gaffney said. When one member of a married couple dies, the surviving spouse is the natural choice.May 2, 2020

What happens to a bank account when someone dies?

If the account holder established someone as a beneficiary or POD, the bank will release the funds to the named person once it learns of the account holder's death. After that, the financial institution typically closes the account.Sep 16, 2020

What do you cancel when someone dies?

When a loved one dies, someone needs to go through and cancel or change the name on their various accounts....Here are some tips.GET A COPY OF THE DEATH CERTIFICATE. ... MAKE A LIST & TAKE NOTES. ... FIND THEIR PASSWORDS. ... WATCH THEIR BANK AND CREDIT CARD ACCOUNTS. ... WATCH THE MAIL.

How much does an estate have to be worth to go to probate?

Every state has laws that spell out how much an estate would need to be worth to require the full probate process—anywhere from $10,000 to $275,000.Dec 17, 2021

Can a bank release funds without probate?

Banks will usually release money up to a certain amount without requiring a Grant of Probate, but each financial institution has its own limit that determines whether or not Probate is needed. You'll need to add up the total amount held in the deceased's accounts for each bank.

Who has power of attorney after death if there is no will?

What Happens After Death of the Principal? Upon the death of the principal, the power of attorney is no longer valid and instead the will is executed. Instead of the agent, now the executor of the will is responsible for carrying out the demands of the principal through the will.Jun 25, 2021

What do you take to a family when someone dies?

Some suggestions that people noted as especially helpful include sending/dropping off:Home cooked meals.Remembrance items.Food and home staples.Thoughtful cards and letters.Gift cards to somewhere practical or self-care related.Items that belonged to the person.Care box with self-care items.

What happens financially when a parent dies?

The executor must file your parent's final income tax return with the IRS, and report all income, credits and deductions up to the date of death. Large estates may incur a federal estate tax, which the executor must pay using the estate's bank account.Dec 11, 2020

How do you ask for money after a death?

Jump ahead to these sections:Send Emails to Raise Funds for a Funeral.Write a Letter to Raise Funds for the Funeral.Post on Social Media to Ask for Donations.Create an Online Memorial.Reach Out to Government Organizations or Charities That Offer Funeral Assistance.Ask In-Person or Make Personal Calls.More items...•Jan 12, 2022

How to get a death certificate if someone dies at home?

But if your relative died at home, especially if it was unexpected, you'll need to get a medical professional to declare her dead. To do this, call 911 soon after she passes and have her transported to an emergency room where she can be declared dead and moved to a funeral home. If your family member died at home under hospice care, a hospice nurse can declare him dead. Without a declaration of death, you can't plan a funeral much less handle the deceased's legal affairs.

What happens when someone you love dies?

When someone you love dies, the job of handling those personal and legal details may fall to you. It's a stressful, bureaucratic task that can take a year or more to complete, all while you are grieving the loss. The amount of paperwork can take survivors by surprise.

Where do you have to go to probate?

Probate is the legal process of executing a will. You'll need to do this at a county or city probate court office. Probate court makes sure that the person's debts and liabilities are paid and that the remaining assets are transferred to the beneficiaries.

Who can help you with financial issues?

You'll need the help of others, ranging from professionals like lawyers or CPAs, who can advise you on financial matters, to a network of friends and relatives, to whom you can delegate tasks or lean on for emotional support.

What to do if your loved one has a CPA?

If your loved one had a CPA, contact her ; if not, hire one. The estate may have to file a tax return, and a final tax return will need to be filed on the deceased's behalf. “Getting the taxes right is an important part of this,” Harbison says.

How to track down a deceased person?

To track down all those who need to know, go through the deceased's email and phone contacts. Inform coworkers and the members of any social groups or church the person belonged to. Ask the recipients to spread the word by notifying others connected to the deceased. Put a post about the death on social media.

Do you have to stop Social Security if you die?

• The Social Security Administration: If the deceased was receiving Social Security benefits, you need to stop the checks. Some family members may be eligible for death benefits from Social Security. Generally, funeral directors report deaths to the Social Security Administration, but, ultimately, it's the survivors’ responsibility to tell the SSA. Contact your local SSA office to do so. The agency will let Medicaid know that your loved one died.

What to do after losing a loved one?

After losing a loved one, your focus is on your family and on grieving the loss —not administering the estate. But there are many concerns that must be resolved to ensure your loved one’s final wishes are respected while protecting the bonds of your family. Knowing what to do before grief strikes can help you navigate the difficult time ...

Why is it important to protect assets after death?

Assets need to be protected. Following the death of a loved one, there is often a period of chaos. This, coupled with grieving, presents a unique opportunity for those bent on personal benefit. It is important for the family, even before the opening of an estate, to protect all assets that belonged to the decedent.

Can creditors open an estate?

Creditors can open an estate. Holding the assets of the decedent in an effort to prevent creditors from reclaiming their debt is a risky proposition. Creditors have the right, after enough time passes, to petition the court to open the probate estate themselves.

What is the phone number to call for probate?

If you have questions about the management of your loved one’s estate or the probate process, call us anytime at (888) 694-1761 to get answers.

Do you need a death certificate after a funeral?

Most funeral homes assist families with obtaining these certificates. You should get several copies of the death certificate to ensure you have enough for all administration needs .

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What happens after someone dies?

Updated July 30, 2020. After someone dies, family members will need to locate all of the decedent's important papers. It will give family members and, if necessary, the estate attorney assisting the family with settling the decedent's final affairs , all of the pertinent information needed to complete probate or the trust settlement process .

What is a beneficiary designation?

Beneficiary designations: For life insurance, retirement accounts, payable on death accounts and transfer on death accounts. Deeds for real estate: There is a common misconception that the original deed is needed, but a copy is fine.

Who is Julie Garber?

Julie Ann Garber is an estate planning and taxes expert. With over 25 years of experience as a lawyer and trust officer, Julie Ann has been quoted in The New York Times, the New York Post, Consumer Reports, Insurance News Net Magazine, and many other publications. She attended Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh and received her J.D. in 1994.

Who is Peggy James?

Peggy James is a CPA with 8 years of experience in corporate accounting and finance who currently works at a private university, and prior to her accounting career, she spent 18 years in newspaper advertising. She is also a freelance writer and business consultant. After someone dies, family members will need to locate all ...

What are prenuptial agreements?

Prenuptial agreements (Including any amendments) Postnuptial agreements (Including any amendments) Loans (Including personal loans, lines of credit, and mortgages, along with the original promissory notes .) Leases (including real estate and automobile leases.)

Where are the papers kept in a decedent's home?

These are the sorts of papers kept in a file cabinet, safe, safety deposit box, or desk drawer. Sometimes other family members (spouse, parents, children, etc) will have access, or some important documents may be held by a family lawyer ...

Do you need an EIN for an estate?

You will also likely need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for the estate. This establishes the decedent’s estate as a legal entity which can then pay for the funeral expenses, settle debts, pay bills like the mortgage and electricity, and of course distribute finances and property to inheritors. While you do not want to get ...

What is probate judge?

As a judicial process, the probate judge is essentially providing legal oversight of the transfer of assets to others, whether or not there was a final will. When a loved one passes away, it’s common to wonder whether you have to go through the probate process.

What is the process of probate?

Probate is the legal process used to administer a deceased person’s estate by gathering assets, settling debts, and ultimately providing financial distributions to members of the family. As a judicial process, the probate judge is essentially providing legal oversight of the transfer ...

What to do if you know someone has a will?

If you know or suspect that your loved one had a Will and other legal planning done, attempt to locate these documents. Often, these will be stored with “memorial instructions” that explain, for example, what he or she wanted for a funeral and burial or cremation.

What to do if you can't find your will?

If you cannot locate the original documents, try contacting the attorney the Decedent may have used, as they may have copies of the documents on file. If there is no Will, someone will need to be appointed by the Court as the Administrator to manage the Estate.

How long can you leave a house vacant?

A higher premium may be required on homes that will be vacant longer than 60 days, but the alternative is the insurance company may not cover damage incurred if they were not informed the house was vacant. Notify the auto insurance carrier that any vehicles belonging to the Estate will not be driven.

Do you have to probate an estate?

In some cases, it may not be necessary to Probate the Estate. However, in most instances, it will be necessary for practical purposes. For example: Unless the property is in a Trust, you cannot change the title to real estate without opening Probate.

What is estate administration?

Estate Administration is the process of accounting for the property left after someone passes away and distributing that property to those who are legally entitled to it. To do that, you’ll need a full picture of the Decedent’s financial situation, including all assets and debts.

Is it hard to lose a loved one?

Losing a loved one is hard. The days and weeks after a loss are often fraught with grief, questions, and unfortunately, family complications. It’s a terrible time to try to think through a legal process clearly. It’s often a challenge just to know where to start .

Can a veteran receive additional benefits?

If your loved one was a veteran, contact the Veteran’s Administration as soon as possible, as your loved one may be entitled to additional benefits for funeral or burial costs. In some instances, a surviving spouse or dependent children may also be eligible for continuing benefits.