This week I've been talking about settling an estate. As always, this isn't intended to be legal or tax advice. You should always seek appropriate council in situations like these. To review, here are the steps. First, take a deep breath. This will probably take much longer than you think, and it can be incredibly frustrating. Next, gather documents, review files, and try to determine where all of their accounts are. Finding the will or other trust documents should show who is responsible for settling the estate. Next order lots of death certificates. You'll probably need a lot more than you think. Then, begin contacting companies whom the deceased did business with. Make sure all of the bills and taxes get paid. As you contact the different companies, be sure to inquire about death benefits. Finally, I have a great tip on how to make this process easier. Unfortunately, it doesn't apply once someone has already passed away. Do you know what one of the greatest gifts I can leave my family is? It's to do appropriate estate planning while I am alive. Much of the work, expenses, and headaches can be avoided with proper estate planning. Eventually, I'll die, and my estate must be settled. Maybe I'll have a warning, and I can rush around and get my house in order. Then again, maybe not. If I get my affairs in order now, the process of settling my estate should be much easier for all parties involved. So if you want to give a wonderful gift to your loved ones, try contacting an attorney today and make sure your house is order. If you have a financial question for Ross, you can use the Marino on Money page.
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