Within Six Months

  • Speak with an accountant about estate taxes and your personal taxes.
    The way you file your taxes will probably change (and if you are the surviving spouse of a cleric, the changes may be significant). You may also be subject to an inheritance tax or a state death tax.

    The federal government taxes large estates and requires that a return be filed within nine months. Speak with a tax attorney or an accountant as soon as possible to find out what will apply to you, and to ensure timely and correct filing.
     
  • Consult your attorney about probate.
    Probate is the legal and administrative process by which all claims against the estate are settled and assets are distributed according to the terms of the will.

    Depending upon the size of the estate and the applicable state laws, probate can take as long as a year. Consult with an attorney now.
     
  • Calculate your annual income and determine a monthly budget.
    It's important to know how the loss of your loved one's income will effect you and your family financially, so you can determine any course of action you may need to take.
     
  • Review your will.
    If you do not already have a will, now is a good time to have an attorney help you create one. Think about who your executor will be, as well as a legal guardian if you have minor children. Discuss legal guardianship with the person you have in mind before making a legal designation.
     
  • Review your life insurance and other coverage.
    Your needs are different now. Consider whether you still have enough coverage to protect yourself and your loved ones. You may wish to discuss this matter with a financial or insurance professional.