How Do You Prepare for the Death of a Family Member?

As an Elder Law Attorney, families often come to see me when a loved one is sick and time is limited.  Handling a death in the family is always difficult, but handling the legal details is the last thing you will want to do in a time of mourning.  The death of a loved one is not only terribly painful, but the aftermath can be complicated, expensive, and a lot of work.

Here are some tips to help you minimize the stress:

Discuss and arrange funeral arrangements ahead of time.  Discuss burial and cremation.  Cemetery plots are sometimes already purchased, especially when the other spouse has died; if not, try to discuss your loved ones’ preferences and do as much as possible in advance.

Funerals are expensive.  Hopefully, your loved one has made pre-paid funeral arrangements, but if not, discuss the details.  Since life insurance proceeds and inheritances may take a while to receive, discuss how the funeral will be paid.  Did your loved one put some money aside that is easily accessible?  Remember, you won’t be able to use their credit card after they are gone.

The sooner you discuss the details, the better.  Talking about death is easier when it feels farther away.

Legal documents should be located.  If anything is needed to pass on property and assets after death, do it now.  As long as your loved one has mental capacity, Wills, Trusts, and Medical Directives can be prepared or updated.  Try to take steps to avoid probate.  Probate is the last thing you want to deal with after your loved one dies.  Probate is not only stressful but time-consuming and expensive.  Seek out legal counsel before it’s too late.

Questions? The Law Office of Debra Simms is here to help. Call us today 386.256.4882

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