Legal Blog

September 30, 2019

What to Do When a Loved One Passes Away

When a loved one passes away, it can be devastating whether their death was expected or not. In the midst of your grief, it can be difficult to know the steps to take to ensure their affairs and estate are properly handled. You should never hesitate to contact our estate planning and probate attorneys at The Legacy Law Firm for guidance in this difficult time. The following are only some general steps to take if you lose your loved one.

  1. Notify family members. You want to ensure everyone knows about the death as soon as possible so they can begin to make travel arrangements, take off work, and more.
  2. Contact a funeral director. If your loved one planned ahead with a particular mortuary, contact them right away. The director can walk you through the necessary steps of planning the funeral and burial, including the obituary and death certificate. The local Veteran’s Administration (VA) should be notified of the death of a veteran, and they can help with special arrangements for a military burial.
  3. Locate documents. In an ideal situation, you will know the location of your loved one’s will, trust, life insurance, and other estate planning documents. If you do not know, you should contact their attorney and/or search file cabinets, safety deposit boxes, or similar locations. 
  4. Notify the executor of the will (if it is not you). If someone else is designated as the executor of the estate, they should know right away. An executor can benefit from meeting with a probate lawyer who can help you take the necessary steps.This can include:
  • Submitting the will to probate
  • Notifying beneficiaries
  • Taking inventory of the deceased’s property and estate
  • Filing and paying taxes
  • Settling debts

Also review employee benefit plans and insurance policies and inform them of the death. 

  • Make necessary changes. You should take time to cancel subscriptions, credit cards, streaming services, memberships, auto insurance, cell phone plans, and more. You should also make sure all property and vehicle titles are changed, that the deceased is removed from financial accounts, and more.
  • Review your own estate plan. The death of a loved one often requires changes and updates to your own estate plan. This is especially true if it was your spouse or child who passed away. You might have to address the following and more:


  • Changing beneficiaries in your will and trust
  • Updating beneficiaries for life insurance and financial accounts
  • Changing transfer-on-death titles
  • Updating your power of attorney
  • The death of a loved one can illustrate the importance of a comprehensive and up-to-date estate plan for everyone in the family.

Contact Our Florida Probate & Estate Planning Attorney for Help

The Legacy Law Firm handles estate planning matters, and we also help families and executors with the probate process. Our compassionate lawyers help people facing difficult situations on a regular basis. We have offices conveniently located in Coral Springs and Delray Beach, so please call 954-999-9683 or contact us online to learn how we can assist you today.


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