Home Page Image


Meetings can be held at my office or for your convenience at your home. Nursing Home and hospital visits are also an option.


<< Library



The death of a loved one comes as a shock whether the death was sudden or expected. Those left behind are faced with the finality of the journey. Sadness and grief can overtake you.
                  The first thing to do after the death of a loved one is DON’T PANIC and DON’T RUSH TO GET THINGS DONE. I have found that many of the stories you have heard over the years are exaggerated.
                  There is no need to rush to the bank to close accounts, call the utility companies, or pay your loved ones bills with your money.
                  This timetable is just a guideline and does not have to be strictly followed. Each situation brings a unique set of facts so it is important to seek out the advice of an attorney with experience in the probate field.

Within two days:

1. Ensure that proper funeral arrangements have been made.
2. Determine whether any of decedent's property needs to be safeguarded, such as a motor vehicle, vacant house, etc.

Within two weeks:

3. Locate the decedent's letter of instruction, if any.
4  Locate the original Will and read it.
5. Locate important records such a titles, deeds and life insurance policies.
6. Make appointment with an attorney to discuss estate.
7. Notify life insurance company(ies) of the death and request claim(s) forms.
8. Check to see if mortgage insurance on home exists.
9. Determine if any bills must be paid immediately.
10. Contact creditors who are demanding immediate payment and notify creditor of death.
11. Collect all billing statements.   
12. Order at least five (5) death certificates from the funeral home.
13. Contact Post Office to make any necessary changes in delivery of mail.

Within one month:

14.  Notify Social Security of the death, and any other organization paying on retirement or paying an annuity upon death.
15.  Gather together and organize financial documents:
                                    a. Bank accounts owned by decedent.
                                    b. Mutual funds owned by decedent.
                                    c. Brokerage accounts owned by decedent.
                                    d. Certificates of Deposit in decedent's name.
                                    e. Stock Certificates registered in decedent's name.
                                    f.  Savings bonds in decedents name
                                    g. Any promissory notes under which decedent was entitled to receive payment.
                                    h. Titles to Motor Vehicles, Mobile Homes and Boats that are listed in decedent's name.
                                    i. Deeds to real property owned by decedent.
                                    j. Any appraisals or special insurance riders of jewelry or other valuable personal property owned by decedent.
  16. Gain access to and inventory any safe deposit box.
  17. Gather all bank statements for dates one month before and after decedents date of death
  18. Bring original Will, financial documents, balances, death certificates, and inventory of safe deposit box, bills paid or unpaid since date of death to meeting with attorney.
  19. Any other assets not listed.

Within two to six months:

  20. If automobiles are held in joint tenancy, change motor vehicle titles to reflect ownership only by the surviving joint tenant.
  21. If stocks or bonds are held in joint tenancy, contact stockbroker to change records to reflect ownership only by the surviving joint tenant.


This Advisory is intended to provide information generally and to identify general legal requirements. It is not intended as a form of, or as a substitute for, legal advice. Such advice should always come from in-house or retained counsel. Moreover, if this Advisory in any way seems to contradict advice of counsel, counsel’s opinion should control over anything written herein.


      maryann@maryannlegal.com :: phone 440.237.2800