My loved one has passed away – what do I do next?

  1. There are no strict timelines on opening an estate, so you can wait until you are emotionally ready to open an estate. For some people, the work of opening an estate and taking care of their loved one’s affairs helps with the grieving process.
  2. Obtain a death certificate.
  3. Remember that all Powers of Attorney are no longer valid upon the death of the decedent.
  4. Search for asset information and any Last Will and Testament.
  5. If you are able to find a Last Will and Testament and it names a personal representative, contact that person and ask them if they are willing to assume the responsibilities

What if:

  • Your loved one had a new Will that left everything to his/her caretaker or neighbor?
  • You are disinherited or excluded from the Will of your parents?
  • You encounter fighting, overturning or challenging a Will?

Sometimes, the Last Will and Testament of your loved one leaves everything to a person who you did not expect to inherit. The general rule is that if the beneficiary of the decedent’s estate is not a person who would be a recipient of his/her natural bounty, then caution should be considered.  If you suspect that the Will was not truly the intent of your loved one, was not actually their Will, or was caused by undue influence or fraud, the Will can be challenged, and a prior Will or the law of intestacy used instead.

The Law Office of Jack R. Sturgill has over 40 years’ experience in handling and administrating Last Will and Testament and estate documents.  You can rest assured that the concerns you may encounter during this difficult time will be handled with the utmost care and diligence.  For your peace of mind, please contact the Law Office of Jack R. Sturgill at or (410) 296-6485.