There are a few things a family needs to address immediately after a death, says Cleveland Jewish News’ recent article entitled “Funeral arrangements, estate planning take education.”
It is important that the decedent have a last will and testament to say to how their assets will be distributed. In addition, a trust in combination with a will can give the creator more control over how, when and where the assets go. A fully-funded revocable living trust does not go through probate, like a testamentary trust created under a will to administer the inheritance. A trust can help to avoid probate.
As for funeral arrangements, this can be challenging, if families have not started the planning process quickly. Trying to make decisions on a cemetery, a casket, a funeral home and a service can be daunting. There are a number of decisions to be made in a short amount of time.
As far as reviewing the documents and assets the decedent left behind, do this one at a time and organize as you go to avoid some stress. A family that is grieving can be overwhelmed very quickly.
When a family and loved ones have too much on their plates, nothing will get done because it is too much. Instead, look at one asset at a time, go through it and see how it is titled and if they think the beneficiary designation is appropriate.
Review each asset and make sure you have covered each one, especially if your goal is to avoid probate.
While still living, a person should make a list of where everything is located, details on their accounts and the account numbers and their estate planning attorney. This will ease the family’s burden when going through your assets and other documents, after you pass away.
Although it is not necessary that a parent disclose everything about his or her finances, a parent should have that information available somewhere. That way children will know where all the assets and important documents are located when needed.
Reference: Cleveland Jewish News (June 22, 2021) “Funeral arrangements, estate planning take education”