My Father just passed away. What do I do now? – Probate Attorney – Portland, Oregon.

Hispanic father and adult son

It can feel overwhelming when a loved one passes away. Meeting with an experienced Probate attorney can be helpful to discuss the steps you may need to take. The conference should take place prior to making any life insurance claims or distributing any assets to beneficiaries. Even a brief meeting to identify issues can prevent problems down the road.

There are some general items that need to be addressed when someone dies. The following list is a general guide to the next of kin or executor. Your specific situation will determine the steps you need to take. Specific questions and concerns should be presented to your attorney.

  1. Gather and organize the following:
    1. Will
    2. Trust
    3. Power of Attorney
      1. Note that the agent’s authority ends at the principal’s death.
    4. Deed(s)
    5. Title(s) to motor vehicles
    6. Life insurance policies
    7. Burial plans/policies
    8. Financial statements including bank accounts and retirement accounts
    9. Death certificate(s) – the funeral home should assist with ordering these from vital records
      1. You will need a ‘short form’ death certificate to record in deed records in any county where the decedent owned real property
    10. Account statements
  2. Notify the following entities of the death:
    1. Social Security Administration
    2. Post Office
      1. The Personal Representative of the estate should redirect mail
    3. Custodian of any pension or retirement account
    4. Medicaid case worker
    5. Department of Motor Vehicles
  3. Make claims
    1. Life insurance
    2. Pensions with remainder benefit
    3. Retirement accounts
    4. Annuities
    5. Bank accounts with pay on death (POD) or transfer on death (TOD) designations
    6. Bonds
  4. Meet with a probate attorney to discuss:
    1. The need for probate
    2. Distribution of a revocable living trust
    3. Filing final income tax returns
    4. Recording the death certificate in county deed records
    5. Paying final expenses

If the decedent is survived by a spouse there is generally no need for a probate process. However, banks, brokerages, DMV, etc., will still need to be contacted in order to make claims and/or give notice of the death.

An experienced probate attorney can help you understand what needs to be done when a loved one passes away. Contact the probate attorneys with the Law Offices of Nay & Friedenberg in Portland, Oregon at (503) 245-0894 to set an appointment.

If you would like to learn more about the probate process, click here to receive our FREE Legal/Financial Planning Guide.