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Legal Aid

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Wills and Probate

Perhaps one of the most important tasks you now face is the disposition of a family member’s estate. Whether or not the deceased had a will can make a greater difference in the time and effort involved in the proper disposition. Wills are usually handled by the next of kin, or the Administrator or Executor/Executrix of the estate.

If you do not have a probate attorney, the funeral home can provide you with contact information for local law offices.

If there is no will, the estate will be disposed of according to the state laws governing descent and distribution.

Please contact the funeral home and we will provide you with information for county and federal offices you may need to contact to settle the estate.

Life Insurance Information

Traditionally, life insurance companies require two forms to establish proof for a claim; (1) a statement of claim, and (2) a certified copy of a death certificate. Please note that insurance companies reserve the right to request further information or proof if necessary.

When filing a claim form, you should have available the following information:

1. The policy number(s) and the face amount of the policy.

2. The full name and address of the deceased.

3. The deceased’s occupation and the last date worked.

4. The deceased’s date and place of birth and the source of the birth information.

5. Date, place, and cause of death.

6. Claimant's name, age, address, Social Security Number, and date of birth.

The funeral home can assist you with filing of insurance claims.

Financial and Credit Obligations

Many but NOT all installment loans, service contracts, and credit card accounts are covered by credit life insurance, which pays off the account balance in the event of the death of a customer.

You should contact any financial institution where the deceased had a loan or credit line and inform them of the death. They will be able to inform you if the loan was covered by credit life insurance and the process for filing the appropriate claim.

Contact the deceased’s bank(s) to inform they of the death. If you hold a joint account with the deceased, you will need to complete a release form before you can withdraw funds from that account. A bank will usually stop payment on all checks as soon as a death notice is published. The bank must also have the account cleared by the state tax authorities.

Living Will Information

A Living Will or Durable Power of Attorney may be the best way to protect the right to “die with dignity.” Issues concerning measures to sustain life and the quality of life are very personal, and it is recommended that you discuss these issues with your family and your attorney.

Most states have Living Will statutes that cover the writing and execution of both Living Wills and Durable Powers of Attorney.

The funeral home can provide you with more information pertaining to Living Wills and Durable Powers of Attorney.

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