Inheriting Responsibilities: Managing a Deceased Family Member’s Property

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A loved one passing away is never easy. However, we need to try to be strong on their behalf. We need to act for them and help manage what they’ve left behind, such as property. It is the right thing to do. Here, you can find advice on things to consider when a loved one has passed and how to best manage their property.

Legally taking over the property in a new name

If a loved one has passed and wishes to put their property in your name, as it has always been your dream family home, some legal things need to be considered. You can’t simply act like it’s yours right away. It would be helpful if, a Quitclaim Deed has been completed. This will enable you to legally take over the property. Until this is done, the property will not be legally yours. Hence, you won’t be able to do anything to it or with it. 

Understanding the legal framework

Another step in managing your deceased family member’s property is to understand the legal framework. Look at the deceased person’s will, trust documents, or other probate laws in your state. Find out if you are an executor, trustee, or a beneficiary and understand your rights.

What they are supposed to do is execute the law, or the person designated to oversee the property upon the owner’s death, understand the terms of the trust, and/or your obligation to a recipient is to be reached.

Securing and inventorying the decedent’s assets

This means everything from real estate, bank accounts, investments, vehicles, personal effects, and even household items. You need to get control of the decedent’s property and assets and keep them safe in order to avoid loss, theft, or damage during the estate settlement process.

This free guide may also be of help. You can download it free, in my resource library.

Notifying relevant parties

Notify family members and beneficiaries of the person’s death. This is usually the first task the estate personal representative takes on. Also, give the creditors written notice of the person’s death. Also, you’ll want to contact the deceased person’s bank and credit union, life insurance agent, annuity agent, investment adviser, broker, and other contacts in their financial life.  Be prepared as these financial contacts may need to see a certified copy of the person’s death certificate. 

Initiate probate or trust administration

You may need to initiate the probate process or trust administration to settle the deceased person’s estate. This process includes filing the necessary legal documents with the probate court or trustee. You’ll also need to meet the statutory deadlines and requirements. Probate and trust administration have many requirements, so you may need the help of a legal professional.

Get appraisals and valuations

You must have the gross (before debts) value of the property. You need to know the net (after debts) value of the property. The gross and net values are used to determine the final value for estate tax and to divide the property among the beneficiaries. You need a professional appraisal and valuation of the deceased person’s real property and tangible personal property so you know what it is worth for property tax purposes and for transferring it to beneficiaries.

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