What Steps Should You Take After a Loved One Dies?

Clients, especially those who have been acting as Attorney-in-Fact for a loved one, or those who are named as the Personal Representative/Executor or Trustee in a Will or Trust  always want to know what steps they should be taking after a loved one passes away. 

Below are a few basic tips to get you started to ensure that all assets are secured and that the probate, estate administration or trust administration process, goes smoothly.

1.  Be aware that once an individual passes away, a Power of Attorney is no longer effective.  A Personal Representative or Trustee is who will take over management of assets and payment of debts after death.

2.  Notify the decedent’s frieds, family member, employer or employees of the death.

3.  Look for any specific funeral and burial instructions left by the Decedent.  In my estate planning documents, I typically include a “Funeral and Burial Letter” which is located with the Will or Trust.

4.  Arrangements should be made for the care of the decedent’s pets, if any.

5.  The decedent’s residence should be secured.  You can do this by having either a trusted friend stay at the home or by changing the locks.

6.  Locate the Decedent’s original Will or original Trust document.

7.  Order between 5 and 10 certified copies of the Death Certificate.

8.  If the decedent left a will or trust, you should contact an Idaho Probate Attorney to advise you with respect to the appropriate steps to take to probate the decedent’s estate, if necessary and to learn about the appropriate steps for Estate Administration or Trust Administration in Idaho.  Failure to do so may result in costly mistakes.

9.  If the decedent did not leave a will or trust, but there is property of the Estate (bank accounts, real property, vehicles, etc.) you should also contact an Idaho Probate Attorney to assist you with Intestate administration of the Estate.

10.  If the decedent left a Revocable Living Trust, the Trust likely became irrevocable as of the decedent’s date of death.  The Trust will need its own Tax ID Number.  Your accountant or attorney can assist you with getting this number.

11.  If the Decedent was renting the property, the landlord should be notified

12.  Notify any utility and phone suppliers of the death.

13.  Notify the post office to change the mailing address to the address of the Personal Representative (once appointed) or the Successor Trustee.

14.  Keep track of your time in handling administration of the estate or trust.  You should also keep all receipts of any out-of-pocket expenses incurred on behalf of the Estate or Trust. 

Hiring a competent Idaho Probate Attorney can alleviate a lot of the unnecessary stress that comes with administering a Deceden’t estate or trust. 

My philosophy when it comes to Estate or Trust Administration, is that as your Probate Attorney, I will take the burden off of your shoulders, and guide you step-by-step through the process.  I’ve found that my clients are relieved to have this burden removed, and that it is helpful especially in situations where family members may not get along or have trust issues with one family member administering the Estate.

Hiring a competent Probate Attorney can also save the Estate or Trust money in many instances.  It is always cheaper to prevent a problem, than it is to fix one. 

If you need help with an Idaho estate administration or trust administration, or need assistance going through Idaho Probate, I would love to assist you!  Contact Mindy Moore at (208) 384-8588 to schedule a consultation with me.



Thanks for stopping by the Boise Estate Planning Lawyer Blog! Press play below for a brief welcome message from me!

This blog is not only about estate planning, but also about Idaho Probate, Guardianships & Conservatorships.

Have a look around and I hope to have the opportunity to serve you in the future.

Happy Planning!

The Executor

I had a friend who died and he

On earth so loved and trusted me

That ere he quit this worldly shore

He made me his executor.


He asked me through my natural life

To guard the interests of his wife.

To see that everything was done

Both for his daughter and his son.


I have his money to invest

And though I try my level best

To do that wisely, I’m advised,

My Judgement oft is criticized.


His widow, once so calm and meek,

Comes hot with rage three times a week

And rails at me because I must

To keep my oath, appear unjust.


His children hate the sight of me.

Although their friend I’ve tried to be.

And every relative declares,

I interfere with his affairs.


Now when I die I’ll never ask

A friend to carry such a task

I’ll spare him all such anguish sore

And leave a hired Executor.


- Anonymous

Protecting Your Legacy

One of the common misconceptions about estate planning is that it’s only for “wealthy” people.  Nothing could be further from the truth!

If you have property (jewelry, a house,  a car, a TV, tools, etc.) you have an estate. 

I’ve found in my years of practice that the thing that causes the most drama after a loved-one passes away is not who gets Grandma’s IRA….it’s who gets the gravy dish, the rocking chair, the photo albums, the china.

The little stuff matters A LOT!

I’ve seen families torn apart over holiday ornaments and childhood dolls.  Don’t let this happen to you!  Don’t let your memory be tarnished but such petty things.

Parents always think that their kids will just “get along” and divide things fairly.  Sadly, that’s oftentimes not the case.  

Grief does crazy things to people, and I’ve heard more stories from my clients about how they felt they never really knew their siblings until their parent passed away.    

Other problems arise where you may think that someone knows that they are supposed to get a certain piece of jewelry. But that may not be the case…

Planning in advance will ensure that your final wishes are kept. 

Nothing makes me, as a probate attorney, happier than to assist in probating / adminstering an estate where a client’s wishes were explicit.  I’ve witnessed the effect that this has on the grieving family members…it’s one less thing that they have to worry about. 

The administration is swift, and they can spend time focusing on the lifetime of good memories that their loved one left behind.  

Contact an estate planning attorney today to get a plan in place to preserve your legacy.

Happy Planning!