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Certain things to keep in mind if a family member dies

When a family member dies, it is an emotional and sad time within a family. These loved ones were precious companions and trusted partners. Although it can be hard to think about financial and other estate planning matters during this time, there are important matters that need to be sorted out.

If the deceased family member was receiving social security, it may be a good idea to keep that account open for a few months to make sure all benefits have been received. In addition, there is a social security death benefit, and if the deceased's payment was higher than his or her spouse's, the surviving spouse may be entitled to the higher monthly benefit. It is also important for the family to know which bills will need to be paid and who could be held accountable for various debts.

A legal professional who is skilled in estate planning and administration can help families going through this emotional and traumatic time. They have the experience necessary to know what families need to do immediately following a death in order to protect the estate and the family's future. An attorney can help the family move through this upsetting time and make sure all financial and legal matters are addressed. Prior to a death, they are also able to help a family create an estate plan that is unique to their situation, including a will, trust, health care directive, and other estate planning documents.

A family who is suffering from the loss of a loved one should know that there are many financial and other matters that need to be resolved soon after the death has occurred. Having a legal professional skilled in estate planning and administration can help make sure these matters are addressed and that the family is protected.

Source:, "Colliton: Business you need to know when a family member dies", Janet M. Colliton, Oct. 3, 2016

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