Don’t do anything initially. You should go through the grieving process without worrying about estate administration. Don’t go to the bank. Don’t talk to the IRA custodian. Don’t divide up personal property. All of those things could be very simple. But there also could be significant tax and asset protection consequences if you start this process without thinking it through. The first few weeks after a family member’s death is generally not a great time to make permanent financial decisions. You should make an appointment to see us once you are ready.

The funeral home will usually obtain death certificates. In preparation for your appointment, you should gather any information about the decedent’s assets, such as recent bank, brokerage or IRA statements, property tax records, life insurance contracts, and business information. You should also gather any documentation of the decedent’s income during the year of death. In addition, you should determine whether or not the decedent had a will or trust and try to locate the original. It is also helpful if you can provide the names and contact information for all beneficiaries.