The Legal Process Following a Loved One’s Death [VIDEO]
Due to the public health emergency, there have been many premature deaths this year. This leaves survivors to figure out the best way to deal with all of the loose ends.
One of the things that they have to address is the legal implications that come about when someone passes away. If you haven’t had to deal with death or the legal process before, it may become more important now that it had been in the past. There are a number of issues that need to be addressed when someone passes.
First, someone in the family has to marshal the assets, which means gathering them up to protect them. If there’s a house, change the locks or put in a security system with cameras so you can see what’s going on until things can be settled from a family and legal perspective.
Another thing that has to be done is to assess the liabilities. There will be ongoing bills, sometimes for multiple properties and perhaps a business. There will also be credit card bills and most likely medical bills. These things have to be assessed. You may not have access to funds in order to pay any bills, but that can come later on.
It also is important to have a family meeting. Family members will have questions, and someone in the family that may have answers should share that information with the family. Doing so calms everybody else down and relieves a lot of anxiety. At Leonick Law we often conduct family meetings with executors and their families. Doing so relieves a lot of anxiety and makes the process transparent.
It’s important to identify who the beneficiaries are for an estate, and who the distributees are. There is a difference: beneficiaries are the people who are named in a will, while distributees are people who are entitled to a share of an estate by law.
Some of the other issues that have to be dealt with involve costs like taxes and legal fees.
I have extensive experience handling estates over the past 31 years, and I’m happy to have free consultations with family members who have questions about their loved one’s estate.
James F. Leonick
Leonick Law, P.L.L.C.
TEL: (631) 486-9500