Handling Financial and Legal Issues After a Loss
In the weeks following a loved one's death, there can be a lot of paperwork to handle and a lot of pressure to do things quickly. These things should be handled carefully, one step at a time, because the decisions made now may have a significant impact on the family's financial future.
The following guidelines can help with handling important matters.
- Interview several in person.
- Ask about their educational and professional background, the size of the firm, how long they've been practicing and what licenses they hold.
- Request a written explanation of hourly rates and fees.
- Will, trust documents and letter of instruction, as well as any codicils or amendments
- Funeral and burial instructions
- Social Security number
- Birth, marriage and death certificates
- Bank, brokerage and retirement account statements
- Stock certificates or bonds
- Documentation of business ownership interests
- Pension plan information
- Life insurance policies and annuities
- Prior income and gift tax returns
- Real property deeds and motor vehicle titles
- Casualty and/or property insurance policies
- Health insurance information
- Outstanding bills or obligations
- Inventory of household goods and personal belongings