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Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

Sacramento Probate Attorney Answers, “What is the first step I should take after my loved one dies?”

March 31, 2011

As a Sacramento probate attorney, I understand that after losing a loved one, there are few things that you would rather do except grieve for your loved one and celebrate their life. But unfortunately, life doesn’t stop moving, and in order to carry out your loved one’s wishes, there are certain steps you must take almost immediately after the funeral.

In a series of blogs, I will explain the 9 most critical steps you must take– which are in no particular order. Some of the steps may seem simple, but can turn into a lengthy process if not handled properly.

Let’s take a look at the first step, which is taking a property inventory.

In many instances, you would trade everything you own just to have your loved one back with you, which means you have little interest in the property that he or she left behind. But in order for an estate to be properly distributed, a list of the person’s assets and property must be made.

This list includes:

  • Real estate, including those that are business-related or for vacation or owned jointly
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Bank accounts
  • Retirement accounts
  • Life insurance policies
  • Annuity policies
  • Collections such as art, coins, stamps, guns, pottery, etc.
  • Contents of safe deposit box, including jewelry

Most of these assets should be mentioned in the will, but use the above list to verify that everything is there.

If you are having a hard time compiling this list, please don’t hesitate to contact me, your neighborhood Sacramento probate attorney at (916) 241-9661 to schedule a complimentary consultation.

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