The following is a general checklist of steps that need to be taken at the time someone dies:
1. First arrange for care of the body.
a. If the person died at home and hospice is not involved, call the Coroner’s office.
b. Find out if the decedent left any funeral and burial instructions and follow their instructions. If there are no instructions or if the funeral arrangements have not been prearranged, a person with authority will need to contact a local funeral home for assistance. If you do not know who the person of authority is, the funeral home will understand the law and tell you who this person is.
2. Arrange to help any persons who were dependent on the decedent for care and arrange for the care of any pets.
3. Secure the residence of the decedent. You may want to have a trusted friend stay there, change the locks and notify the police.
4. Keep accurate track of the time you spend doing this work. Also get receipts for all out-of-pocket expenses you pay to do this work.
5. Notify the decedent’s friends, family members and employer or employees of the death.
6. Arrange to receive several copies of the death certificate – ten (10) is not too many in most cases.
7. Locate the decedent’s original will and original trust document.
8. Keep a running list on a note pad of the gifts, flowers, food, etc. brought by others so you can thank them later.
9. DO NOT give any assets away to anyone until you talk with a lawyer! If you allow assets to be taken, you may be personally liable to the estate of the decedent for the value of those assets.
10. Call Senior Edge Legal (344-0375) for assistance in the administration of the decedent’s estate. If the deceased person owned more than $100,000 in titled assets or owned a home or other real property, it will be necessary to take some formal legal steps to gather up the assets, protect them, pay the bills and ultimately distribute the assets. If there is no real property and the titled assets are less than $100,000, there is an informal legal way to handle those items. It is important to get legal professional help before making estate management decisions. Sometimes the wrong decision, taken hastily, can be very costly. We can help you avoid those wrong decisions. The first 30 minutes of this consultation is FREE