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A death in the family often imposes cruel demands on family members, not the least being the necessity to tackle a list of financial responsibilities. An Orange County probate attorney has provided a list of the seven most critical financial duties to perform in the days and weeks after a loved one dies:

Find the will. It must be the original document, not a copy.

Locate information on assets and liabilities. This may take some sleuthing if the decedent was not organized, and includes insurance policies, bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts, pension plans, etc.

Contact employer. If the decedent was still employed, contact his or her employer for information on 401(k) or other retirement accounts as well as any insurance benefits.

Monitor the mail. Look for account and loan statements and bills.

Pay bills. The executor named in the will (or by the court) will be responsible for paying the monthly bills from the estate, and will need to petition the court for “operating” expenses.

Tax returns. The executor will also be responsible for filing tax returns on behalf of the estate.

Consult a lawyer. Many people are uncomfortable handling an estate; an Orange County probate attorney can assist executors with carrying out their legal duties. At the very least, an executor should consult with a probate lawyer to ensure what they are doing is correct.

The Flanigan Law Group provides Southern California residents with personal attention for estate planning, administration and litigation legal services. When disputes between families, arise, they are very successful in resolving legal estate issues quickly and efficiently while preserving financial and emotional resources. Contact the Orange County Probate Attorney at the Flanigan Law Group at 949-450-0042.