If you recently lost a person in your life that you were close to, you might end up with the responsibility for settling the person's estate. While the legal system requires following the person's will when doing this, some people do not leave wills. If your loved one did not leave a will, and if you are the closest person to your loved one, you might be responsible for settling the estate with an attorney's help. Here are some of the basic principles required when settling an estate without a will.
Locate Information on Life Insurance
One thing you might want to do is look through your loved one's house to see if you can find any documents pertaining to life insurance. Even if the person had no will, they might have a life insurance policy currently in effect. If so, the proceeds might help cover the funeral expenses and other pressing costs that you must pay for right now.
Clean Out Your Loved One's House
Another step you must take is to clean out your loved one's house. When a person dies while living alone, the family typically comes in and empties the house. They must then decide what to do with the house. If it is a rental property, they can simply hand the keys over to the landlord. If the person owned the house, you must decide if you want to sell it or keep it.
Liquidate the Assets
In most cases, settling an estate without a will involves liquidating the assets. You might not be able to liquidate them right away, but you will have to in the future. You can ask an estate administration attorney when to complete this step. Liquidating means selling all the assets to generate some cash.
Determine the Person's Debts
Another vital step you must take is to find out how much debt the person has. You will need to write a list of every debt, as you might have to use the cash you generate to pay these bills.
Settle the Proceeds
Settling the proceeds takes time with an estate, and it involves several steps. The first step is to liquidate the assets, and the second step is paying the debts. If there is money left over after this, you can ask your lawyer how to divide it.
If you must settle an estate without a will, you might face some challenges. If you would like help with this, contact an estate administration attorney today.