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Ask Dave Kennett Your Own Question
Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer (JD)
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years experience in general law, including real estate, criminal, traffic, and domestic relations
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what steps need to be taken after a parent dies after the funeral

Resolved Question:

what steps need to be taken after a parent dies after the funeral arrangements? What steps need to be taken if a will can not be located? What type of lawyers do I need to find if the parent owned a business with no employees, the irs and other creditors and what are my responsibilites to the business.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 7 years ago.

HiCustomer Thank you for asking your question on JustAnswer. The other Experts and I are working on your answer. By the way, it would help us to know:

-Is there a surviving spouse?

Are there other siblings?

Thank you again for trusting us with your problem. Please reply as soon as possible so that we can finish answering your question.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
There no spouse or siblings. And I need to know what tackle first and how. Personal, business. There is no real estate property either, just personal and business belongings and a lot of debt.
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 7 years ago.

DearCustomer- You have absolutely no responsibility to do anything however if you want to open an estate it will have to be done in the county where the deceased resided at the time of death. If the debt exceeds the assets I see no reason to do anything since the creditors will end up with whatever assets there are so I don't see the point in getting involved.


Of course if the assets exceed the debt then you would inherit whatever remains after the debts are paid so then you would want to open an estate. Any personal belongings you can simply take unless there is significant market value such as expensive jewelery etc. If there is any life insurance that would pass outside of the estate directly to the named beneficiary so that shouldn't be a problem.


You can contact an estate attorney if you need legal assistance. The estate would have to be opened and administered under the intestate succession laws since there is no will. The attorney can be paid from the estate assets before the creditors unless the creditors are secured. Once again, there may be no need for any of this if the debts exceed the assets. The creditors can open an estate if they want their money.


Dave Kennett

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

There are several used cars which are not in good condition. What do I have to do with them since they are on the landlords property? Also I am still recieiving checks for work the decedant performed. I haven't put in his account since i can't sign for them. A


But who needs to be contacted? Social security, IRS DMV ect.

Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 7 years ago.

You don't have to contact anyone unless you intend to open an estate. You can't do anything with the checks unless an estate is opened and the landlord can deal with the cars since you have no responsibility for them or any of the debts etc. As I said above, if the debts are more than the assets I see no point in getting involved but if you want to tackle this problem the first thing you need to do is to go to the probate court and open an estate.


There's no need to contact the IRS or DMV or anyone else since you are the only legal heir.



Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Don't I have to notify anyone of the death?
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 7 years ago.

There's no law requiring you to do anything unless you want to open an estate. Of course you can't close bank accounts or sell cars or handle any affairs of the deceased but the point is that all of your work will be for naught if the creditors are going to take all the assets. Basically you can just walk away from the situation. If a creditor opens an estate they can handle all the notices etc and collect their money from the sale of the assets.



Customer: replied 7 years ago.
do I have to notify social security?
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 7 years ago.

You have no duty to do anything but if you want to notify any of these places you can do so.



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