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Exterior of The Office Building At The Law Office of Marsha H. Cellucci

What Do I Do When A Parent Or Spouse Dies?

The first things to do, of course, are to notify and gather family, make the arrangements for burial or cremation and services and grieve. If you don’t know the wishes of the deceased, you will also at this stage have to look through the files and important papers of the deceased person to learn whether the deceased made any pre-death arrangements because that will impact your decisions.

The second thing to do is to go through the rest of the files and important papers to see whether the deceased left a Will or had a trust and to get an idea of the scope and nature of the deceased person’s assets and debt.

The next thing to do is to consult with an attorney to find out what might have to be done to transfer the assets of the decedent in accordance with the deceased’s wishes.

How Do The Assets Of A Deceased Person Get Transferred?

When a person dies, there is a need to make sure that the assets and property of the deceased go to the person or persons that the deceased wanted to have them. Sometimes that happens because the deceased made arrangements before he or she died by completing documents that transfer certain property upon death (TODIs or PODs) or by changing the title to real property by making new deeds or establishing land trusts or by naming or changing beneficiaries of life insurance or retirement accounts. Sometimes the deceased may have set up a trust with instructions for how to distribute property upon death. And sometimes the deceased person made a Will containing instructions on how to disburse his property after death or containing a trust with instructions.

In any event, the surviving family and heirs need advice on what to do after the death of a loved one or family member. A consultation with Marsha Cellucci can help you sort through the assets and the types of arrangements or instructions the deceased person left. She can guide you on what is required to transfer property with alternate forms of testamentary disposition as well as how to administer a trust and whether or how to get through probate. Contact The Law Office of Marsha H. Cellucci at 630-912-5058 to learn more.

What Is Probate?

Probate is the name of the court procedure that oversees the transfer of a decedent’s estate as he specified in his Will. The court procedure that oversees the transfer of a decedent’s property when he did not leave a Will is referred to as the intestate Administration of a Decedent’s Estate. A Decedent’s Estate consists of all of the assets owned or titled in the decedent’s name alone at the time of death. It does not include property for which alternate arrangements were made such as TODIs, beneficiaries or joint tenancy, etc.

Do I Have To Go Through Probate Or Court?

The answer is it depends primarily upon how the decedent owned property at the time of his death and the total value of property owned in his own name alone at the time of death.

If a deceased person did not own anything in his or her own name alone and rather owned everything jointly, a probate may not be necessary. If a deceased person only owned his or her home (real property) in his or her own name alone, it may be less costly to arrange for a bond to transfer the real estate than open probate. If a deceased person owns all of the property in his or her own name alone but its total value is less than $100,000 it may be best to arrange distribution via a Small Estates Affidavit. Attorney Cellucci will go over all of the details with the children or heirs of the decedent and they together will make decisions as to how to proceed. Attorney Cellucci has competently handled many probate and estate administrations in five counties, DuPage, Will, Kane, Kendall and Cook.

What Is Trust Administration?

Trust administration is the process of distributing property pursuant to the instructions set out in a trust made by the decedent. The named trustee usually requires guidance in collecting the decedent’s assets, paying debt and distributing according to the terms of the trust. Attorney Cellucci has helped many clients understand the trust instructions and guided them through the process so as not to run afoul of the laws governing trust fiduciaries’ responsibilities.

Choose Experienced Representation When You Need It

Probate and estate administration are rarely simple, but attorney Cellucci can help. Contact The Law Office of Marsha H. Cellucci at 630-912-5058 for more information and schedule your initial consultation at the firm’s office in Naperville.