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Coping with estate planning after a person has passed

When a person dies in Michigan, there are many issues to be resolved. If estate planning was done, the process may be relatively straightforward. But what if a plan is not in place or if the appointed executor of the estate is not familiar with the plan? What is the best way to proceed in such an instance?

In a recent case, a son had to untangle his mother's finances after her death. Millions face this task every year, but in this case, there was an added wrinkle. The mother was a Morse code operator in World War II. All of her passwords to all of her accounts were written down in a notebook, but each password was written in code that the son needed to decipher. While this instance is extreme, there are steps that can be taken to ease the stress at this unsettled time.

Decisions should not be made in haste. Decisions made under emotional distress may be regretted later. One must also locate the will or trust. If one or both of these documents exist, the process of how to proceed may be clearly spelled out. If the deceased had a financial advisor, he or she may also be able to be of assistance.

When faced with the death of a loved one in Michigan, resolving the person's estate can seem a daunting task, particularly if no estate planning was done prior to the person's passing. An executor or next of kin faced with this responsibility may benefit from a conversation with an experienced estate planning attorney. A knowledgeable estate attorney would be able to guide a person through the complex undertaking of settling the estate.

Source: usatoday.com, "Estate planning: How to resolve finances after a death", Anna-Louise Jackson, May 16, 2018

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