Law after death – What comes next?


When an unexpected passing occurs, it can be difficult to sift through the chaos and the sadness to know what the necessary steps are that must be followed. Quite often, the last thing on someone’s mind when they are experiencing the loss of a loved one is the legal processes that will soon follow. It seems like a relatively straight forward process, but it can differ wildly depending on the will (if there even is one) of the departed, the family circumstances, and the material and financial meals that belong to the departed. It is an intricate web of legal processes that must be carefully worked through in order to be able to deliver the fairest, most morally sound outcome. Not only do families often get swept up in the emotional turmoil of the loss of someone they hold dear, but they are often quite scattered and unsure of the next steps, legally speaking. Divvying up one’s estate and belongings is only simple if there is a systematic will and specified outline of the wishes of the departed – something that is not always done when the death comes unexpectedly.

It pays (literally) to be organised. While nobody generally enjoys thinking about their eventual death, having a structured plan in motion for what should happen thereafter can make the process much less painful and confusing for the family left behind. Having an estate plan ready to go can greatly increase the control, privacy, and security of one’s legacy once they pass away. When someone passes unexpectedly, however, it is not always easy nor is it a fast process to go through the legacy of an individual that has passed, efficiently and fairly divvying up the estate, the financial means, and the material possessions. Of all legal instances, the delicacy of handling legal issues of the depart is among the most difficult and time-consuming of them all. Very rarely (unless one organises a structured will and testament before the time of their death, and keeps it updated enough to the point that is relevance and authenticity is not put into question) is the process post-death for the family and loved ones an easy one. Sometimes, people get lucky, but other times they do not.

Quite often in such circumstances, the family of a person will need to obtain a court order to access the funds of a person that is physically incapacitated or deceased. On top of the court order, they must then pay the probate costs – these costs are substantial, and are often more than the average family can afford to just fork out when the unexpected fits. Resolving legal issues of estate, financial means, and material possessions has been known to take months, sometimes even years, to be resolved in their entirety. Efficiently planning out one’s estate with a legal professional can be incredibly beneficial, particularly as they often are able to suggest planning options that are more specific towards the individual. This effectively ensures that the consequential post-death processes will likely be as personal and relevant as possible. There is something particularly frightening about dying unexpectedly and having no control or having had no forethought over what the process thereafter will be like for one’s loved ones. Even the most harmonious, tight-knit families of all can come apart at the seams.

Getting your affairs in order can make all the difference to the people left behind. What may seem like a simple transference of funds, estate, and material belongings, is in fact an intricate, delicately woven web of legalities that must be sifted through with great care and precision, in order to deliver the most morally and accurate distribution of said funds on behalf of the person who has passed. Technically speaking, probate is the legal process that occurs when your funds are transferred to your heirs. This mostly depends on the state or territory that one lived at the time of their death. Investing in a trusted, accredited probate lawyer is undoubtedly one of the smartest things that one can do when the worst occurs.

The topic of death is an uncomfortable one, and as such there is seldom anyone that is entirely in their comfort zone when thinking about it, much less when they experience the passing of someone they love, completely out of the blue. The legal procedures that must be followed to be able to fairly divvy out the estate, financial means, and material belongings of the departed are incredibly intricate, and often can prove to be time-consuming, depending on the circumstances surrounding the death and the family and loved ones of the departed. Hiring a legal professional can make the experience significantly less traumatising, and often allows the loved ones of the departed to get through the entire process much smoother than anticipated. And then, just like that, life goes on.

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