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Legal Considerations After a Death

If you are the named executor of the deceased’s estate, you will be responsible for carrying out all of the deceased’s wishes, wrapping up his financial and legal issues, and distributing his properties. However, you don’t need to immediately jump into settling these legal matters. This will obviously be a very trying and emotional time for you. You could wait for about a month after death before you start thinking of the deceased’s legal affairs, but you shouldn’t delay for too long, or else you may get into a financial and legal mess down the line.

Here are the key legal considerations after a death:

You need to get the death certificate and the letters of administration/representation

To have the right to manage the deceased’s financial or legal affairs, you will need to have their death certificate which you will use to get a letter of representation from a court of law. The letter states that you are the legal executor of the deceased’s estate.

You will probably need to consult or hire a trust and estate/ wrongful death attorney

The trust and estate lawyer has probably handled cases like yours before. He or she will know what documents you need to fill, how fast you can do that and how to locate all the assets of the deceased. In case the death is accidental, a wrongful death attorney will help you to obtain maximum recovery of your losses.

Have a look at the will

If you hire a lawyer, then you will not need to consider this step as he or she will get this done for you. Have the will filed with a court and distribute the deceased’s properties and estates according to his or her will. A will is a legally binding document. However, you can still challenge the will in a court of law if you feel that something is not right. A lawyer will tell you whether your specific circumstances allow this.

Know your other roles as an executor

As an executor, your main role is to manage the deceased’s estate. To do this, you will have to find out about all the deceased’s assets and liabilities. You will also have to look for all his important documents including his insurance policies, credit card statements, savings account, tax returns, pension information, stock certificates, and mortgage statements. These documents will help you to: settle the deceased’s debts; close his old bank accounts; file insurance claims; cancel subscriptions; cancel utilities and services; notify the Social Security Administration (SSA); and redirect mail to yourself.

These actions are necessary and should be done as soon as possible to prevent any company from charging the deceased yet he or she is not using their services or properties. This is clearly not an exhaustive list. There are many more things to do. Hiring a lawyer and an accountant can help you to sort things out faster.


Even though the period after death might be quite a trying experience for you and other family members, you should find time to consult a lawyer as soon as possible to get things moving both legally and financially. You might find some charges running into hundreds if not thousands of dollars per month if the subscriptions, services, and other charges of the deceased are not cancelled. This makes it necessary to have their subscriptions and other services quickly cancelled. If the death is accidental, then you should consult a wrongful death attorney to see if you can get compensated for the pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of the death. Contact us now and we will quickly assign to you an experienced wrongful death attorney who will assist you in sorting things out.

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