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Steps To Take Following a Death

We know that having a death in the family can be a difficult time. For that reason, we hope to ease the stress a little by providing a list of steps to take following a death in your family.

  • Make funeral arrangements. If your loved one has specified preferences for their remains or any service either in their Will or otherwise, follow the instructions accordingly.

  • Gather and review any estate planning documents which may include the Will, trust, or any other documents.

  • Order certified copies of the death certificate. These can be obtained at the Tennessee Office of Vital Records. You should order at least 10 certified copies as banks, insurance companies, etc. will each require a copy.

  • Take an inventory of and secure any assets. This may include any bank accounts, life insurance policies, stocks, retirement accounts, real estate, personal belongings, or any business interests.

  • Hold onto any important mail addressed to your loved one. This may include any bills or other documents that may come in the mail.

  • Make sure that any important and necessary bills continue to be paid. These bills may include any mortgage payments, taxes, or utilities.

  • Cancel any unnecessary services. These services may include magazine subscriptions, cable and internet, and cell phone services.

  • Review and end any lease agreement for living arrangements. If your loved one was leasing an apartment or rental home, contact the landlord to terminate the lease.

  • Contact the health insurance company to end any type of medical or disability coverage for your loved one. If any others are still under the policy, you can request that the policy continue to apply to them.

  • Contact any agency like Social Security which may be providing benefits to ensure that future benefits are stopped.

  • Make any claims for life insurance, retirement, or pension benefits.

  • Keep a list of all amounts, dates, and descriptions for all expenses. Be sure to save any receipts.

  • File any required tax returns. Meet with your accountant about filing tax returns for your loved one.

  • Talk with a probate attorney at The Higgins Firm. We would be glad to answer any questions and help transfer the assets of your loved one to the beneficiaries through the estate administration.

If you would like for our firm to guide you through the probate and inheritance process please feel free to contact us to discuss the services we offer.  Our Estate Team will explain the legal requirements of probate in Tennessee and search for the most economical options available to complete the inheritance process.  To ensure that you have a fruitful meeting with our probate team it is best that you bring all of the documents that you have gathered as suggested above.  This will help us determine what, if any, assets need to be transferred through the probate process and what can be transferred out of probate. We will also make sure the Last Will and Testament or other Trusts Documents are in order so that your loved one's final wishes can be honored.  Our firm will do everything possible to make the inheritance process as stress free and easy as possible.