What Happens if Your Parents didn’t Make a Will? Inheriting the Family Home Isn’t Always so Easy!
Are you waiting to inherit the family home but your parents didn’t make a will? Here is what you should do!
Dealing with a family member passing away is a daunting experience for everyone involved. At times we are the only caretakers for them and to make matters worse they didn’t even make a will. So what happens next? How will their home and assets be divided? Will you be left with nothing? Follow these steps:
What To Do When a Parent Passes Away
1. Get the Death Certificate and Make Several Copies
After the funeral has passed, you should be able to get the death certificate from the funeral director. The death certificate is one piece of document that you will need to do anything going forward. From closing bank accounts, to cancelling credit cards and even getting life insurance benefits, you need to get the death certificate.
2. See if They Had a Life Insurance Policy
If your parent made a life insurance policy, this money could come in handy if you need the cash to cover funeral and legal expenses. If you are unsure if they had a policy, check their office and files and any safe deposit boxes they may have had. Go to the bank and ask for bank statements to see if they were paying any kind of premiums on a life insurance policy. This could definitely benefit you and your family especially if you don’t have enough funds to cover the funeral or even moving company costs to remove all of their belongings from their home.
3. Find out if They Had a Will
Most wills are public documents, so contact the court in the county where your parent lived and see if there is a will on file. If they had an attorney or a law firm that they used, ask them and see if maybe they have a will on file. Ask friends and family and try to find out if they might know. In many cases in the U.S, recording a will with the probate court is not required so most people will leave the will with somebody trusted or stored somewhere that could be found later. If someone does have a will and they hide it, there is really no way to discover it. If you do believe that a will exists, you can ask the court for more time to try and locate it.
4. Start the Probate Process
If you manage to find a will, it’s time to file the will with the probate court. The will defines who get’s what and also who will be the executor of the will. It will also start the legal process of distributing the assets as well as selling off any assets to pay off debts. If your family member was in debt, you may not even inherit their home. You may have to consider selling the home to cover any debts they may have incurred.
If no will was found, the probate court will determine how the assets will be divided based on state laws. If your parent dies with debt, the debts need to be settled during the probate process before any money or assets can be transferred to heirs. If you are unsure how the process works, you can hire a professional probate attorney miami if you are located in Florida. For other states there are tons of professionals and probate attorneys that can assist you with this.
5. Determine Who will Be the Executer of the Will
If not defined in the will, someone needs to be the executor of the will. The executor will manage the estate and work with the probate court to begin the process. They manage the assets, pay debts and distribute the property to heirs. The executor can be appointed by the probate court before they can proceed or if there is no executor outlined in a will direct family members can serve as an executor of a will. You would need to agree with family members to choose someone trusted that will handle this.
6. Make a Checklist and Get Organized
To make your life easier, make a checklist of all the things you should do after a parent has passed away. It surely is a process that no one likes to go through, but it will help you minimize the stress and possible confusion you may have along the way. Handling affairs after ones death isn’t always easy, and if you would like to inherit your parent’s assets it’s a process you have to go through.