What To Do When A Family Member Dies

Everything changes when a key family member, like a parent, dies. Everything becomes "legal." If family members casually borrowed items from the decedent in life, they can no longer do that. All property now belongs to the estate, and it will be distributed according to the will, or by the court.

If a will named you to be trustee of the estate, concluding the decedent's affairs and distributing estate assets will be your job. As estate administrators, the attorneys at Robshaw & Voelkl are available to walk you gently through the probate process, minimizing surprises and hard feelings.

People sometimes call us within days of the death. Take your time to grieve. After a few weeks and things have settled down, then we can talk.

It is always good to have a will. New York allows "self-proving" wills, which, once notarized, allow you to sidestep the probate process.

If you are named executor of the will, legal representation is critical, as you can be held to account as the fiduciary agent of the estate, if any disputes arise.

Very often the parent dies out of state, but the task of executing the will falls to sons or daughters still living in the Buffalo area. We are accustomed to the complexities of administering estates across state lines.

If the estate must go through probate, our lawyers can provide guidance. Probate does not have to be aggravating, but it will slow the process down.

We will help you manage all the documentation and payments to creditors and taxing entities. We will help obtain the death certificate, and current status of all financial accounts. We will make sure that all items that should be included in a trust are indeed there.

In most cases, estate issues are resolved peaceably. In some cases, heirs are upset with the amount they receive. Assets sometimes disappear, and show up in a family member's possessions. Our attorneys assist in resolving these contests. We work for either side in will contests.

Will you know what to do when a family member dies? Discuss your estate issues: call Robshaw & Voelkl of Williamsville at 716-633-4030 or contact us by email to arrange a free initial consultation.