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. You can’t always prepare for their passing and it can be a struggle to take the next step. There are some important legal tasks you have to take during this time, and we understand it can be difficult.

At Dan Burke Law, we want to share what comes next in the legal process after hearing the news of a relative’s passing.

Immediately After

The first legal document to collect is the pronouncement of death. This can be done at the hospital by a medical doctor or hospice nurse. If your family member passed away at home or outside of medical care, call 911 for assistance. They will be able to communicate with a coroner to get the place, time and cause of death.

Some people may start taking the time to notify friends and family of the death. Keep in mind other people’s preferences and how they would want to receive this information. You can share the news in person or over the phone. Consider how to take these next steps with care while you prepare for the final arrangements.

Funeral Preparations

When you’re making funeral preparations, always look for the deceased’s instructions in their will or other written documents. They may have prepared instructions for their funeral and burial plan before they passed. If you cannot find these documents, close family members can take action toward what they feel is best.

You can contact a number of organizations for the final arrangements. These options include:

  • Funeral homes
  • Cremation companies
  • Areas that accept full-body donations such as medical schools

You will also have to decide on a location if there is to be a funeral or memorial service. All of these preparations will require expenses, so it’s important to research what is the best option for the family and their budget.

Reach out to family members to help plan out the service. Getting together to plan out eulogy readings and post-funeral gatherings can provide additional comfort during this process.

Will Inventory

After planning out the funeral and burial, it’s time to address anything that the deceased has left behind. With a probate lawyer, you can manage the debt expenses, property ownership transfers and medical expenses that the deceased left behind.

You can also take this time to find any important documents that could be necessary for any legal processes. This includes:

  • Bank records
  • Marriage or divorce documents
  • Life insurance and other insurance policies
  • Birth and death certificates

These documents could be kept in a safety deposit box in their home or at a bank. The deceased may have left a will with an executor named so they can distribute their property between family and friends. With a will, your lawyer can find out where each aspect will go and help the family take care of this process with ease.

Probate Law With Dan Burke Law

If you need any assistance with your legal documents or actions, contact Dan Burke. We want to make this process as easy as possible so you have one less thing to worry about. Reach out to us today for a free consultation.


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