Estate Administration – Raleigh Estate Lawyer
After the funeral is over, you’re probably asking: What next steps should I take to handle my deceased family member’s affairs?
Getting help with a loved one’s estate
Well, first you need to stop, and tell everyone else to stop too. Yes, there are important things that need to be done quickly to preserve assets and limit liability, but too many people do inappropriate things. Many of these things are well meaning (like making donations that the family member would have wanted) or using the debit card of the deceased person to pay some bills that are coming due soon, or getting some cash out to pay back the people who advanced money for the funeral, or splitting up the stuff in the home. The first thing you want to do is STOP. If you have never managed a deceased person’s estate, call someone who has, or call a law firm that focuses on Estate Administration. Estate Administration is the practice area that signifies that lawyer handles cases involving deceased people. Specifically, they handle filings with the Clerk of Court, handle probating a Will, transferring assets, dealing with creditors, handling beneficiaries, working with various vendors (realtors, financial advisors, accountants, etc.).
Second, if there’s a Will, don’t just start following the directions of the Will. First, it must be probated, and someone needs to Apply for authority to start handling the assets of the decedent. Just because you have access to a bank account does not mean you have authority to dole out the contents.
Third, get some legal help. If you are not a pro at administering estates, know that the law is complex and there are a thousand different ways to completely mess it up without knowing it. Also keep in mind that creditors, beneficiaries, and others will be watching every action, and each action needs to be substantiated in various ways, so proper record keeping is essential. Some people get legal help just for the complicated parts of the estate, but others hire an estate administration attorney to handle the whole estate administration case from start to finish.
For our Raleigh clients, our Durham clients, and all of our other Estate Administration clients, we are flexible to meet their needs. If they want us to just handle the complicated parts of the estate, we can do that. If they want us to handle all of the estate, we can do that as well. We have very reasonable and innovative fee agreements to accommodate different financial situations.