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What Documents Do I Need When a Loved One Dies?

 Posted on December 19, 2019 in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning attorneysWhen a family member or close friend passes away, figuring out what paperwork you need to find can be overwhelming and confusing. Especially if you are the executor of the estate, you will have several important responsibilities including paying the deceased person’s bills and taxes, manage their assets, obtaining a death certificate, and more. You will need access to several different documents in order to complete these tasks. If you loved one created an estate plan before they passed away, finalizing their affairs will be much easier than if they had no plans.

For this reason, and many others, everyone should have a will, trust, or other estate planning tool in place – even if they do not own a great deal of high-value assets. When you pass away with an estate plan, the burden on your surviving loved ones is significantly less that it would be if you did not have an estate plan.

Locate the Following Documents When a Loved One Passes Away

When a friend or family member passes away and you are responsible for settling their final affairs, there are many different pieces of information and paperwork you will probably need. These include but may not be limited to:

  • Estate planning documents such as a will or living trust
  • Account statements: You will need several months’ worth of statements for any bank accounts, retirement accounts such as 401(k)s, IRAs, and annuities accounts, and brokerage accounts the deceased person owned.
  • Life insurance policies and beneficiary designations
  • Death certificates: It is recommended that you make at least ten copies of the death certificate.
  • Income tax returns
  • Real estate deeds
  • Titles to any automobiles owned by the deceased person.
  • Bills: You will need copies of cell phone bills, medical bills, utility bills, and mortgages
  • Stock and bond certificates
  • Business documents: If your loved one owned a business you will likely need access to corporate, partnership, or LLC documents including articles of organization or corporate charter, the shareholder’s agreement, partnership agreement or operating agreement, contracts such as employment agreements, leases, and loans, tax returns, and business licenses.
  • Any prenuptial agreement, postnuptial agreement, lease or loan documents, and other contracts.

These documents may be necessary to facilitate the disposition of your loved one's estate. It is a good idea to speak with your loved one while he or she is still alive so that you will know where to look for such items when the time comes. 

Contact a DuPage County Estate Planning Attorney

When you make an estate plan, you are protecting your family from the burden of having to make decisions on your behalf. For help getting started on your will or other estate planning document, contact A. Traub & Associates. Call 630-426-0196 today to schedule an appointment with an accomplished Lombard estate planning lawyer.



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