Take Immediate Steps To Protect The Estate
Sadly the death of a person seems to attract predators.
Remember the dream in Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol when Ebenezer has died and his maid is stealing his bed linens? Unfortunately things like that can occur in real life.
Some Ugly Facts
Some burglars read the obituaries and break into the decedent's home during the funeral. Sometimes neighbors or relatives help themselves to household items shortly after the death or even when the person is in his or her final illness. Sometimes a family member who has a power of attorney will deplete the decedent's bank account shortly before or even after the death.
The First Ten Days
In our experience, the Loved One's family is most vulnerable to these thefts in the ten days after the death while everyone is still in shock and denial. This is why it is so important for the family to take preventive action to secure the decedent's estate.
Arrangements should be made for a home-watcher at least during the funeral. Banks and creditors should be notified of the death. Often it's a good idea to change the locks at the home since often many people may have had access to the home while the decedent lived there.
An inventory should be taken soon after the death to avoid disappearance of items. (If not in writing, even a videotape of the interior of the home can document what things were there at the time of death.)
Occasionally some family members may consider these precautionary measures to be insensitive. However, later when the missing items or other assets cannot be accounted for, the family will wish that it took preventative steps at the time of the death of the loved one.
The contents of this video are for information only and is not to be interpreted as legal advice. For personal legal advice you should consult with an attorney who is experienced in probate law or estate planning.