Even with careful estate planning, the death of a loved one can bring about a myriad of tasks that you may not expect. The American Association of Retired Persons notes that taking care of a person’s final affairs may take more than a year to fully complete.
If you find yourself tasked with taking care of a loved one’s final affairs, even if they have a will in place, there are a few steps you may have to take before finalizing all the details.
Refer to the will
Once your loved one passes on, it is important that you contact the executor of his or her will because it likely contains information about burial information, whether the decedent purchased a plot before passing and details about any final wishes, such as:
- Cremation versus burial
- The location of the final resting place
- Service or memorial wishes
If you are the executor of your loved one’s will, then the duty likely falls upon you to contact the funeral home and assist with arranging the funeral and burial.
Arrange for probate
The probate process, or the act of executing the contents of a will, may take as little as a month or two or more than a year, depending on how many beneficiaries there are and how involved the assets are. If there are multiple beneficiaries receiving gifts from several accounts, you may want to ask an attorney for assistance to make the process more efficient.
You may also have to close out your loved one’s financial accounts and other regular services. Making time to handle his or her final affairs can help you feel more confident that you are handling these tasks with the care they deserve.