When a loved one dies, you may face the overwhelming responsibility of attending to all the loose ends of the person’s life. There are many things to look after, from providing a proper tribute to closing out accounts. Many of these tasks require attention to detail, adding stress to what is already an emotional time.
To help make the process easier, we have created a list of eight things you should do after a loved one passes away in Ohio:
- Locate the decedent’s Last Will and Testament. If you are unsure whether there is a Will, contact a local attorney to assist in the process of locating the Will or other estate planning documents (including a Trust).
- Find a local attorney who is familiar with Probate and Estate administration. For more information on the Probate process, follow this link which summarizes what to expect in Probate.
- Secure the decedent’s assets. You will want to have a complete understanding of what property the decedent owned at the time of death, including real property, vehicles, and account information. If the decedent owed a house, you will want to ensure the property does not appear to be vacated.
- Review real property records. In some cases, it is possible to locate information related to the transfer of real estate on the local county recorder’s website. This could include information on any mortgages for the property.
- Review and keep the mail. There is a lot of vital information that comes through the mail at the decedent’s home. This includes documents with information related to bank accounts, bills, insurance information, and other assets or debts. Before paying any debts or expenses, make sure to confer with legal counsel.
- Keep track of expenses. If you incur costs to preserve assets or to protect the property for the decedent, it may be possible to recover those expenses after the estate administration is complete. Make sure to keep copies of these receipts.
- Get duplicate death certificates. You may need a dozen certified death certificates to close out the decedent’s assets. Your funeral director may help you handle this or you can order them from the Ohio Vital Statistics Office.
- Contact Social Security or pension providers. If the decedent was receiving any government benefits or a pension, it is important to inform those providers so they stop making direct deposit payments. This will avoid repayment and confusion on the estate’s value and will ease the process of administration. Your funeral director may handle this, but make sure to follow up.
For more information on Estate Planning, Probate, or Trust Administration, feel free to contact Elliott Stapleton to discuss your legal matter and provide consultation in our Hyde Park/Central Cincinnati office: 2101 Grandin Road, Suite A, Cincinnati, OH 45208