Obituaries

Sandra Wilson
B: 1937-12-25
D: 2017-10-19
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Wilson, Sandra
Anthony Marinozzi
B: 1933-12-18
D: 2017-10-18
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Marinozzi, Anthony
Karen Holub
B: 1956-05-27
D: 2017-10-17
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Holub, Karen
Carmela Di Palma Mastrangelo
B: 1920-06-23
D: 2017-10-14
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Di Palma Mastrangelo, Carmela
John Minadeo
B: 1955-03-27
D: 2017-10-13
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Minadeo, John
Daniel Makar
B: 1954-06-11
D: 2017-10-12
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Makar, Daniel
Grace Vinkovich
B: 1920-06-04
D: 2017-10-11
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Vinkovich, Grace
Elaine Espie
B: 1940-11-28
D: 2017-10-11
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Espie, Elaine
Charlotte Kenst
B: 1936-09-24
D: 2017-10-09
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Kenst, Charlotte
Gloria Selvaggio
B: 1932-03-24
D: 2017-10-09
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Selvaggio, Gloria
Constance Brain
B: 1934-02-21
D: 2017-10-08
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Brain, Constance
Richard Dodd
B: 1955-07-16
D: 2017-10-07
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Dodd, Richard
Christine Clair
B: 1980-11-09
D: 2017-10-07
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Clair, Christine
Joan Sawicki
B: 1947-02-28
D: 2017-10-05
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Sawicki, Joan
Josephine Zawacki
B: 1924-07-31
D: 2017-10-04
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Zawacki, Josephine
Kenneth Olsen
B: 1942-02-07
D: 2017-10-03
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Olsen, Kenneth
Patricia Counselman
B: 1951-08-26
D: 2017-09-28
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Counselman, Patricia
Trenton Sobolewski
B: 1999-06-03
D: 2017-09-28
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Sobolewski, Trenton
Salvatore Vecchio
B: 1924-07-23
D: 2017-09-23
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Vecchio, Salvatore
George Moroschak
B: 1929-02-13
D: 2017-09-19
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Moroschak, George
Lucille Hunter
B: 1922-05-04
D: 2017-09-16
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Hunter, Lucille

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Estate Settlement

Sometimes estate settlement is one of the hardest aspects of dealing with the death of a family member. This doesn't have to be the case if proper preparation of all estate documents took place prior to the death. If you have the services of an experienced estate lawyer at your disposal, there can be even less worry and strife.

What is Probate?

Probate: the official proving of a will. The probate process is intended to establish the legal validity of a will but it involves so much more than merely confirming that the signed, witnessed, and registered copy of a will is authentic.

The Probate Process

In addition to proving in a court of law that the deceased individual's will is valid, the Nolo website page, Probate FAQ, declares the probate process also involves:

  • identifying and inventorying the deceased's personal and real property
  • having the property appraised
  • paying debts and taxes
  • distributing the remaining property as the will (or if there is no will, then state law) directs

"Typically, probate involves paperwork and court appearances by lawyers," the Nolo Probate FAQ declares."The lawyers and court fees are paid from estate property, which would otherwise go to the people who inherit the deceased person's property."

What Happens When There is No Will

When someone dies without leaving a dated, signed and properly witnessed will, the court decides who should receive the deceased's assets. It won't matter what your familial relationships were really like; the state will award property and cash to the survivors based solely on their legal relationship to the deceased. This is called dying 'intestate' and Nolo offers these basics about succession when there is no will: "Generally, only spouses, registered domestic partners (in states where that's an option), and blood relatives inherit under intestate succession laws; unmarried partners, friends, and charities get nothing. "For more information on what this involves, read this Nolo article "How an Estate is Settled if There's No Will: Intestate Succession".

All this can be avoided, if you take care of things ahead of time. When you leave documents that clearly state who you wish to get your property and cash after you die, you better support your survivors in coming to terms with your death without leaving them with a lot of unnecessary distress.

Hiring an Attorney

Losing a loved one can be an overwhelming experience and when you add in estate settlement issues, the months following the death can be much more than we bargained for. That's when it might be advantageous to hire an attorney.

"Most of us are not experts at what needs to be done after a loved one passes away," declare authors Joel Schumacher and Marsha Goetting, in "Settling an Estate: What Do I Need to Know?" They go on to say, "However, at some point in our lives many of us will find ourselves faced with settling an estate for a family member or friend." When this happens to you, or someone you know, it's best to turn to the experts in estate settlement. If you're considering getting legal advice from a reputable estate attorney, we suggest you read our online article "Legal Advice" found within this section of our website.

Sources:

Nolo, "Probate FAQ", 2014.
https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/probate-faq-29135.html

American Bar Association
http://www.americanbar.org/aba.html

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It's hard to know what to say when someone experiences loss. Our free weekly newsletter provides insights, quotes and messages on how to help during the first year.