What To Do When A Loved One Passes Away

What To Do When A Loved One Passes Away?

Having a loved one pass away is never easy. 

After the funeral, thoughts often turn to settling the estate. 

But, what is the best first step? 

How quickly do you need to get started?

These are very common questions. We’ll take a look at each of them in this article.

My name is Erik Broel & I am the founder & CEO of Georgia Probate Law Group.

What To Do When A Loved One Passes Away

At our firm we help families who have lost a loved one navigate the complex and confusing legal process so they can make sure the estate is handled properly and their loved one’s memory is honored.

There are a few initial steps we recommend to take after the funeral.

Get Copies Of The Death Certificate

We recommend that you get at least 10 or more certified copies because it is very common for financial institutions and others to request them while you are handling the estate.

Determine If Your Loved One Left A Will

What To Do When A Loved One Passes Away

While probate is required with and without a will, the process can be different depending on whether a will was left or not. 

Some common places to look for a will are a fireproof box in the home or a safe deposit box at the bank.  

If you find an original will, make sure to keep it safe because it will need to be filed with the probate court.

How Quickly Do You Need To Open The Estate?

This is a common question our team hears.

There is no rule requiring the estate to be opened within a certain time.

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But, as a practical matter, we often find it is best to begin settling the estate within the first month because certain bills will continue to need to get paid and the family often cannot access the estate funds until after the estate has been opened. 

In addition, the home cannot be listed or sold until the estate is opened.

Next Steps: 

Everything discussed in this article is for general information and is not legal advice.

If you are in a situation where you are figuring out what to do when a loved one passes away, I recommend you reach out to our office at (770) 920-6030 to set up a consultation.


If you’re not quite ready for a consultation, be sure to download our Georgia Probate Handbook so you know how the estate is supposed to be handled.

What To Do When A Loved One Passes Away