How to Settle an Estate When a Family Member Dies

How to Settle an Estate When a Family Member Dies

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Last WillPhoto by Melinda Gimpel

Statistics show that the majority of today’s Americans do not have a will.

If a member of your family has died without leaving a will, settling their estate will be a lot more difficult. Even if they did make one, there are certain tasks to be carried out that you may not have considered before.

While the death of someone close to you is always difficult, it’s important to see to their estate as soon as you feel up to it.

Read on to learn more about how to settle an estate.

How to Settle an Estate With a Will

Once you take possession of the deceased person’s will, the first step is to file a copy of this will in probate court.

Next, you will have to locate all of the deceased’s assets. This includes all bank accounts and items of value that they may have kept anywhere other than at home.

Having done this, you’ll need to divide these assets according to the terms of the will.

If the deceased was precise in their instructions, this might be straightforward. However, if they left only general directions (such as to divide their estate equally between their three children) this may cause problems.

Cash and liquid assets are easy to value and divide equally. However, if a large part of the deceased’s estate was made up by a single asset (such as the family home) this can cause real issues.

If you’re struggling to divide assets fairly, liquidation might be the answer. Selling assets allows you to distribute the resulting money in equal shares, potentially saving you massive stress.

Clearly Quick Estate Services provide one of the best estate liquidation services in the business.

How to Settle an Estate Without a Will

If someone close to you has died without leaving a will, their assets will have to be distributed according to the laws of intestacy. These laws vary slightly from state to state, but essentially provide that assets automatically go to certain family members upon death.

If the deceased left a spouse, the entire estate generally goes to them. If there is no surviving spouse, but there are surviving children, the estate is divided equally among these children.

If a child of the deceased is deceased themselves, their share is divided among their children.

If there is neither a spouse nor children, the estate is given to the deceased’s parents. If there are no parents, siblings are the next option.

If there are no siblings, the estate goes to the closest possible relative. If no suitable relative exists, the ultimate beneficiary is the government.

Settling an Estate in a Dignified Way

When considering how to settle an estate, the most important thing is that it’s done with respect for the deceased person. You don’t want to tarnish their memory with arguments about the possessions they’ve left behind.

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