Gathering the Probate Assets (Transcript)
D. "Rep" DeLoach III, Estate Planning and Board Certified Elder Law Attorney
Upon the death of a loved one, the main thing that you want to take care of are their personal items. We're sure that that's going to be an upsetting part in this time of life and you've probably never done something like this, but your main goal at this point is to make sure the decedent's affairs are finalized regarding the funeral and the funeral wishes, and make sure that is accomplished. As part of that, you will definitely want to make sure you get death certificates, and the death certificates help deal with what's going to be happening with the assets. You typically want to get a number of long-form death certificates and a number of short-form death certificates when you're dealing with the funeral home. But now's the time to get the death certificates taken care of as part of the funeral process.
Now after the funeral process is done and you've ordered the death certificates, the death certificates generally take about 10 days to come in from the funeral home or from the cremation place, or something to that effect. It only takes about 10 days. So, in that 10 day period, then you're also able to start looking at the decedent's assets. So, what do they own? Do they have bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds? You may want to be gathering the mail and looking for asset information that's coming in, but also look at collecting the decedent's bills. Because that's part of the probate or part of wrapping up someone's affair, we want to make sure the decedent's bills are taken care of as part of an orderly distribution of one's estate.