How to Legally Handle the Sudden Passing of a Family Member

probate law papers on a desk

There’s no easy way to handle the passing of a family member, especially when it occurs suddenly and without preparation. It is important, however, to know what to do – especially from a legal aspect. Here’s how to legally handle the sudden death of a family member.

Immediately After

The first procedure is to obtain a legal pronouncement of death. If your loved one dies in a hospital or nursing home, the doctors and staff will handle this. If they died at home, then call 911. This way, you will have a medical professional to handle the pronouncement of death. Once you have a death certificate, then you are ready to handle the proceeding steps.

Funeral Preparations

Next, start looking for the deceased’s instructions on how they would like to handle the funeral. If this is not provided, you need to sit with your family members and discuss your options, your budget and how best to honor your loved one. Also, search for paperwork that details a prepaid burial. If one is not in place, you need to start researching funeral homes and prices. Start figuring out if you want to cremate or not, where the funeral will be held and what kind of tombstone or urn is best.

A tip for funeral planning is to get help from your family members. Line up those who will read eulogies, those who will plan the service and post-funeral gatherings. The process is heavy and unfortunate, so having those you love to help you can make the planning easier.

Will Inventory

After having taken care of the funeral and burial, you will need to address what the deceased has left behind. Start doing will inventory. This is making sure of who the property is left to, what – if any – debt needs to be paid off, where the house will go, who will pay the medical bills, etc. The list goes on and on. This all pertains to probate law, something that a probate lawyer can help you with. Once you have located a will, it’s important that you review it with a probate lawyer to make sure that everything is taken care of and easily understood.

If you need help with the sudden death of a family member, contact Dan Burke today for a free consultation.


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