What Do I Need to Do When a Loved One Dies?

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By: John M. Lane

By: John M. Lane

John M. Lane specializes in estate planning, wills and trusts, probate administration, and elder law. He personalizes his approach to each client, striving to offer effective and efficient solutions. John graduated from Baylor Law School in 2003 and worked as a litigation attorney for over a decade at Provost Umphrey Law Firm in Beaumont before opening his Austin law practice in 2013. He values his faith, family, and community, and enjoys spending time outdoors playing golf and tennis with his sons and cultivating his organic garden.

Meet John M. Lane
It’s easy to overlook an important task after a spouse or other loved one passes away – like retitling assets. It’s a little thing with big ramifications. Follow this checklist to help make a challenging time less confusing.

The death of a loved one is hard to endure. It can become all-consuming. When a loved one dies, there are new matters that need to be addressed.

Kiplinger’s recent article entitled “A Checklist for What to Do (and NOT Do) After Someone Dies” says that it’s vital to handle these matters today and not put them off until some date in the future, which usually never comes until it becomes a crisis.

When a spouse dies and leaves their assets to the surviving spouse, the mistake many people make is that the surviving spouse often leaves the assets they inherited in their joint names or in their deceased spouse’s name.

As the years pass, the surviving spouse’s health may also begin to decline. The spouse frequently only survives a few years after the first decedent spouse.

When that happens, and the original spouse’s assets were not retitled, it can become an even more difficult process for the heirs.

This is how a typical scenario can play out when a loved one dies: the father dies and leaves everything to the mother.

Mom calls everyone she can think of but misses several important matters. She then passes and the heirs now, while in a state of mourning, have to try to settle her affairs.

The issue is that they will now have a much more complicated task ahead of them than Mom did when she settled Dad’s affairs.

They’ll have several more steps to go through – because the mother never retitled some of the father’s original assets.

Mom unknowingly made a difficult job even harder on her heirs by not getting everything transferred over when her husband passed.

Speak with an experienced estate planning attorney to make sure you have your assets titled correctly when a spouse dies.

Reference: Kiplinger (Aug. 24, 2022) “A Checklist for What to Do (and NOT Do) After Someone Dies”

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