The passing of a spouse, parent, relative or friend summons strong emotions. A death also triggers numerous issues, from funeral arrangements to legal matters. It can be overwhelming, especially if you are appointed to settle the person’s estate or tasked with finding someone who can.
The Law Offices of Kennedy & Jackson provides close assistance in estate administration. We can walk you through the first steps you need to take upon the death of a loved one and then shepherd you through the entire probate process.
WHAT TO DO (AND WHAT NOT TO DO) WHEN A LOVED ONE DIES
- Don’t panic — Your mind races through “a million” considerations. Take a breath. Take a walk. Get yourself calm. Do not make any hasty decisions. You will get through this and you don’t have to go through it alone.
- Contact the funeral home — The staff will collect the person’s remains from the hospital or the home. The funeral director will commence arrangements according to the deceased’s pre-arranged plan or help you make funeral and burial decisions.
- Spend some time grieving — You do not need to contact a lawyer right away. When you are ready, we will help you prioritize which legal matters need urgent attention and which can wait.
- Locate important documents — Ideally, the will and trusts, property deeds, life insurance policy and other important papers are all collected in one place, with instructions. If not, our attorneys can advise on which documents need to be located.
- Do not remove assets from the estate — Even if property is designated to you in the will, you must wait for the official distribution.
- Do not let anyone else remove assets — Be firm and clear with family members, and be vigilant. Each beneficiary will receive a copy of the will, which outlines what they are entitled to inherit when the time comes.
- Do not try to administer the estate on your own — Even a modest estate can be surprisingly complex and time-intensive to administer. It will cost more in the long run (and cause delays) to hire a lawyer to “undo” a legal jam if you get in over your head.
- Be patient and don’t be pressured — Depending on the specifics, probate and estate administration commonly takes several months or the better part of a year. A complex estate, a legal challenge to the will, or an intestate death (with will) may extend the process. There are fewer surprises or problems when the estate is settled in an orderly and methodical fashion.
ARE YOU DEALING WITH THE DEATH OF A LOVED ONE? OUR LAW FIRM IN HARRIS COUNTY IS HERE TO HELP
Our law office is located in the Galleria area of Houston, with free on-site parking available next to our office building. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call 713-783-7444 or send us an email.