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  • Writer's pictureRuthPGeorge

A loved one passes: next steps

When an individual passes away, there may be various considerations and steps to take in administering the decedent’s estate. Some steps may need to be taken immediately and others can be handled in due course.

Depending upon the circumstances, the steps will vary. Some steps may appear simple, but, in actuality can be much more complex. It is important to review all matters so a comprehensive plan can be created and actions are not taken haphazardly.

Although a checklist will vary, the following is a simple overview of certain steps to be considered:

1. Safeguarding and securing assets.

2. Paying necessary bills.

3. Reviewing liability and property insurance.

4. Reviewing cash flow needs.

5. Identifying credit cards and lines of credit.

6. Processing life insurance.

7. Opening an estate in Surrogate’s Court.

8. Handling all matters pertaining to the estate including: filing final personal income tax returns, marshalling all estate assets, opening an estate checking account, paying proper debts and expenses, pursuing all benefits, filing fiduciary income tax returns, distributing assets, preparing an accounting and obtaining receipts and releases and final paperwork to close the estate.

9. Considering other matters, such as renunciations, business interests or trust interests, retirement accounts, etc.

Please call (716) 982-1662 or email me ( should you need legal assistance with an estate. I would be happy to guide you through each of these steps.

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