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Safeguarding Your Legal and Financial Rights When a Loved One Dies in an Accident

It’s something no one wants to think about, let alone say out loud. That’s why so many people are unprepared when they lose a loved one in an accident. In this article, we’ll create a safe space where you can learn more about how to safeguard your legal and financial interests, especially if someone else caused the accident. Even though it’s the last thing you want to do, now is the time to look out for your legal rights.

If you’re the executor of their estate, there are a number of this that now fall to your. Here are the basics.

Find the Will

Find an original copy of the will since the courts won’t accept a copy. This is the most critical task since probate procedures can take months or years and cost thousands of dollars in legal costs.

Gather Together Important Papers

Locate essential documents regarding your loved one’s assets and liabilities. This should include:

  • Insurance policies
  • Bank accounts
  • Retirement accounts
  • Investments
  • Loans

You need as many details as possible to settle their affairs.

Contact the Person’s Employer

This lets you find out about retirement plan distributions, employer-purchased life insurance and vacation pay due. Most employers will be more than happy to help you, but it may be a good idea to keep a good attorney on retainer for this and other legal matters.

Watch the Mail

Cancel magazine subscriptions, unnecessary cable or electricity accounts and any other unneeded services. Look for hidden assets and liabilities your loved one didn’t tell anyone about. This will help you settle the estate and safeguard the interest of any beneficiaries, including yourself, if applicable.

Pay the Bills

Arrange to resolve outstanding bills: the monthly

  • Utility bill
  • Mortgage
  • Credit card bills
  • Car loans

File Tax Returns

You will have to file income tax returns and estate tax returns, if applicable. Most states require this within nine months.

Consult an Attorney

If you feel you need professional help with the settling the estate, contact a reputable probate lawyer. You should also consider filing a wrongful death suit against the other driver if your loved one didn’t cause the accident.

Wrongful death is a lawsuit or insurance claim seeking to recover damages after you lose a loved one. The insurance industry rather coldly refers to this as the “value of life.” No one can put a price on your loved one’s life. Instead, a wrongful death claim acknowledges the terrible loss has and attempts to make up for the impact on survivors.

According to Reno lawyer Kathleen A. Sigurdson, you may also be eligible for damages under loss of consortium and companionship laws. “While no amount of money can replace your loved one, monetary compensation can relieve some of the financial burden and associated stress you are enduring as a result of an injury that results in wrongful death.”

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