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Immediate concerns following a loved one's death: Estate plans

When a loved one passes away, the last thing you want to have to think about is legal steps to take. The good news is that you can work with your attorney to prepare for that time, so everything is in order and ready to go.

The first thing you'll want to prepare for is to get access to your loved one's legal documents. You want to find financial statements, tax returns and other information about the estate. If you can get this ahead of time, you can have your attorney keep copies on hand, so the documents are ready when needed.

Another thing that you can do is set up a freeze on the account. This usually takes just a simple phone call or visit to the bank with a death certificate. This won't be available for a day or two, but if you have it sent to your attorney, he or she can handle the calls for you.

Next, you'll want to move valuable assets to a secure location. Make sure the residential property remains insured if it's still owned by the decedent. Prior to his or her death, it's a good idea to take note of the assets in the home. Take a second look after his or her death to update your notes and protect the valuables inside. If there are items of substantial value, it's a good idea to shift them to a safe deposit box.

These are a few things to do upon an individual's death. With early preparation, much of this can be left to your attorney, so you can focus on your family.

Source: Kiplinger, "5 Things to Do the Moment a Loved One Passes Away," Daniel A. Timins, accessed June 07, 2018

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