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May 26, 2012

Estate do's

Checklist for items to begin addressing when someone passes: 1) Obtain a copy of the Death Certificate. 2) Cancel any social security benefits. Call 1-800-772-1213. 3) Begin making a list of any final expenses and other known debts. 4) Make a list of all known assets owned by the decedent. 5) Check New York State Unclaimed Funds for any additional assets that the decedent may not have known about. This can be done online quickly and free of charge at 6) Was the decedent the owner of any real estate? If so, begin searching for records regarding their ownership (deed, title search, etc.) Also look for any outstanding bills having to do with the real estate (mortgage(s), taxes, utilities, etc.). 7) Try to locate a recent income tax return. This will help in identifying any other assets. 8) If the decedent had life insurance, contact the insurer and advise of the death. Request they provide beneficiary information, if applicable, and claim forms. 9) Did the person have a Will? If so, where is the original located? 10) Was the individual survived by a spouse and children? If so, make a list of their names and address. 11) If the individual was not survived by immediate blood relations, you should create a family tree to lay out the relationships. You should also make a list of all known contact information.