Every marriage is not meant to last forever. No matter what the reasoning behind the divorce, it is important to have legal representation for each side. I almost lost everything because my former spouse said that he was taking care of things and that he would be fair about how the assets were divided. It took several weeks for me to find out what he was up to. It was then that I hired my own attorney and got what I deserved. You should never attempt to go through a divorce without a lawyer working on your side. On my site, I have listed several of the issues that can get overlooked if you are inexperienced with divorce documents and proceedings.
When asked, most people don't hesitate to take on the role of a personal representative. Many, though, don't have a good grasp of what is required of them. To help get things started, take a look at some of the main duties expected of this role and what should be done first.
Read the Wishes of the Deceased
More and more people are making their final wishes known and are making those arrangements prior to death. Any funeral and burial plans should be located if that is the case. Also, look for life insurance or burial policies at the same time. Don't try to make any plans on your own even if you are a family member, however. Particularly now, when large gatherings may be unsafe, it pays to consult with others and speak to clergy and funeral home directors for their input.
Deal With the Will
Some people have the foresight to have a complete estate plan at the ready. That plan might include life insurance, final arrangement plans, a will, trust, and payable-on-death accounts. However, your priority should be the will since it has to be filed in probate court. The lawyer handling the estate will file the will and place any notices in the local newspaper alerting creditors to the death. Probate can take months to be done, and the sooner the will is filed the sooner it will be over.
Take an Account of the Estate
Soon after the will is filed, the probate court will need a complete inventory of everything of value contained in the estate. That is everything from homes and vehicles to bank accounts. Some things, however, may not be under the control of probate. If trusts, special real estate deeds, or payable-on-death accounts exist, speak with the estate or probate lawyer on how to handle the assets contained within.
Keep the Estate Safe
You may need to attend to certain home maintenance duties to ensure it's safe, secure, and well-taken care of. That might mean paying homeowner association dues, having the yard mowed, repairing broken windows, and more. In some cases, you will need to have certain utilities remain connected for the time being.
Be certain you work alongside the lawyer when it comes to paying the bills that arrive in the mail. Only certain bills need to be paid. For example, you can probably ignore credit card and medical bills, but ask your lawyer about paying the mortgage and other bills.
You will be working closely with the estate or probate lawyer during this time. To find out more, speak to an estate administration attorney.