Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Sometimes acting with haste when administering an estate can actually lead to additional delay and expense. Here are a few things NOT to do immediately after someone dies:
- Removing contents of the home. The nominated executor can safeguard the decedent’s possessions, but has no authority to dispose of them until the will has been admitted to probate.
- Committing to Vacate an Apartment. Many times, a decedent’s records are in a state of disarray. Surrendering possession of the residence too quickly may lead to important records being discarded.
- Destroying all records. A careful, painstaking review of the decedent’s records should be made so additional assets aren’t overlooked.
- Cancelling credit cards. Cancelling a credit card days after a death may lead the bank to place a hold on the checking account, resulting in bounced checks. Except in unusual situations, wait a little longer to notify the credit card issuers.
- Entering into contracts on behalf of the estate. If a nominated executor enters into contracts and ultimately doesn’t become appointed, that person could be personally liable for damages.
See Abbe I. Herbst, What Not to Do Immediately After Someone Dies, Mondaq, March 19, 2014.