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Sacramento Estate Planning Attorney

First steps for estate administration and probate


People in California who have lost a loved one know that the emotional toll of grief and sadness can be overwhelming. The loss of a close friend, relative or spouse can make functioning normally difficult, if not impossible. Often though, before a person can properly grieve, they first have to deal with the practicality of winding down their loved one's affairs and settling their estate after death. Having a practical plan in place for one's own affairs after death can be very useful, especially when it comes to naming a capable person to perform the essential tasks that must be done.

The most important legal document in a person's death is the will. Everyone should make a will, and should provide instructions for locating the will and other important legal and financial documents. People should name their executor, who will be in charge of making sure the person's assets are distributed according to their wishes and that their personal affairs are wrapped up. The more preparation a person puts into their will, the easier it will be on family and heirs once they are deceased.

The executor can have many responsibilities, including but not limited to notifying family, business contacts and those named in the will, closing down bank and other financial accounts and even wrapping up personal social media and email accounts. They may also be charged with selling or disposing of personal property, depending on the wishes of the deceased.

Doing all of these things can be tough for a grieving person, which is why many people name a trusted estates and trusts attorney as the executor of their will. A professional attorney with experience in these matters may better handle the numerous and complex tasks that are required to wrap up a person's business and legal affairs, while giving loved ones a proper chance to deal with the grief of loss.

Source: Hazard Herald "Personal finance: What to do when a loved one dies," Jason Alderman, June 17, 2013.

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My Sacramento law practice, Michael A. Sawamura, Attorney at Law, focuses on wills, trusts and estate planning law in addition to business law and corporate defense services. My clients include professionals, government employees, small businesses, blue-collar workers and national corporations.

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