"I recently lost a family member and I'm not sure how to proceed with their estate."

A difficult time to make important decisions

The death of a loved one, no matter what the circumstances, involves many significant emotions. Friends and family cope with the loss through grief, reminiscing, or perhaps even relief in the case of terminal illness. Ideally, there is an estate plan in place and an individual or group of individuals who are identified ahead of time to immediately handle the estate. Often, the process of handling the estate is organized haphazardly or as an afterthought. But whether there is strong organization and preparation regarding an estate plan or not, the time period immediately following the death of a loved one is critical and is often mismanaged by family or friends As soon as possible, the surviving family or friends handling the estate of the decedent should contact the Maryland estate planning attorneys at Altman & Associates to schedule a Settlement Review Meeting.

Why is it so important to contact the estate planning attorneys at Altman & Associates immediately following the death of a loved one?

As a representative or trustee of the decedent’s estate, you have legal obligations to the estate – which will generally include family and friends. You must exercise sound judgement and understand your rights and obligations, even when paying for immediate costs like hospital bills and funeral expenses. It is important to understand who has control over what assets, and what payments or distributions can and must be made. As an absolute rule, do not close any bank accounts, re-title any assets, or adjust or liquidate any retirement or investment accounts until you speak with one of our knowledgeable Maryland estate planning attorneys. At your Settlement Review Meeting, our compassionate, professional attorneys carefully guide you through the process of handling your loved one’s estate.

What should I bring to my meeting with the estate planning Attorneys at Altman & Associates?

When you arrive at the Settlement Review Meeting, try to have critical estate plan documents with you. You should try to bring as many relevant documents as possible, preferably in original form. However, it is more important that you meet with an experienced estate planning attorney than to have every single document available. The relevant documents you should bring include:

  • All will and/or trust documents (if our office does not already have them);
  • Death certificate;
  • Paid funeral bills;
  • Real estate deeds or related documents;
  • Copies of recent statements from bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and retirement plan accounts;
  • Original life insurance policies;
  • Original titles to cares, trucks, trailers, boats, and other vehicles; and
  • Unpaid hospital bills.

With these basic documents, we will work closely with you and your family to settle your loved one’s estate plan.

Compassionate Maryland estate planning attorneys are there when you need us most.

After the loss of a loved one, please do not take any significant action without consulting with us first. We have convenient office locations in Columbia and Rockville, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia. Contact us by phone at (301) 468-3220 or online to schedule a consultation.

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