I have found that when a loved one passes away people have a desire to take action – any type of action. This may be a reaction to the shock of losing a family member or it may be a form of coping mechanism. Regardless I have found that most people want to take some form of action to help place the deceased’s finances in order.
Recently I have received a number of telephone calls from individuals who have lost family and friends and they want to know if they should transfer title of the deceased’s home to a family member or if they should closeout the deceased’s bank accounts. In each of these phone calls I hear a sense of urgency in the caller’s voice.
The caller feels that they must take immediate action or else financial harm will befall the deceased’s estate. What I tell all these callers is to SLOW DOWN and to NOT DO ANYTHING DRASTIC such as to cash out stock or sell the deceased’s coin collection. Rather such action may be extremely detrimental and expose the actor to liability from the deceased’s estate.
Rather I calmly sit down with these individuals and explain some small practical steps that should first be taken, such as making arrangements for the deceased’s body to figuring out who will take care of the deceased’s pet and mail. A colleague of mine at Golden Law Center has published a brief outline of what initial steps should be taken upon learning that a loved one has passed away. I recommend this resource to my clients and use it myself in my practice.
I wish you all the best,
DISCLAIMER: This communication provides general information and does not constitute legal advice. Attorney Advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.