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When a Loved One Passes Away

Answers to Your Most Pressing Questions

There might not be a more difficult time in your life than when a loved one passes away. Here are answers to important questions that can help bring you peace of mind during this stressful time.

Q. Should I contact an attorney?
A. Yes. Every estate is unique, so an estate planning attorney can advise on your specific situation.

Q. How do I determine if there is a prepaid funeral contract?
A. Look through your loved one’s documents to see if there was a prepaid funeral contract. The contract may be kept with or near a will or estate planning files. You may also wish to contact the local funeral directors, or your loved one’s attorney, care center or hospital.

Q. Can I gain access to a safe-deposit box?
A. Because banks are subject to state and federal regulations, procedures vary greatly. Contact your loved one’s bank directly to determine its policies for access.

When a Loved One Passes Away

Answers to Your Most Pressing Questions

Q. How are assets distributed if my loved one does not have a will or I cannot find it?
A. When a person dies without a valid will, or if you cannot find it, property passes to heirs according to state law. For most states, the share for the surviving spouse is determined first, if he or she was married at the time of death. After allotting for the surviving spouse’s share of the estate, state laws also have provisions for how property should be divided if there is more than one descendant who is entitled to inherit from the estate. Check your state’s laws or contact an estate planning attorney for specifics.

Q. What is probate?
A. Probate, if required, is the formal process by which property and assets are distributed to beneficiaries. Most probates involve filing a petition (and original will, if available) with the proper court, appointment of an executor, notice to heirs, inventory and appraisal of estate assets, payment of debts or taxes and distribution of assets to beneficiaries.

Q. How much does it cost to probate an estate?
A. The cost and duration of probate can vary substantially depending on the value and complexity of the estate, the existence of a will and the location of property owned by the estate. Your attorney will discuss the costs involved for your situation.

Q. What is the role of the executor, personal representative or administrator?
A. The executor or personal representative is in charge of the probate process and provides an orderly method for administering the estate. If there is no will, an administrator is appointed by the probate court.

Q. Where will the estate be administered?
A. The estate—or probate, if required—will be administered in the county where your loved one resided. If your loved one owned property in another state, a separate proceeding may be required.

When a Loved One Passes Away

Answers to Your Most Pressing Questions

Q. How do I know if I am a beneficiary under the will or living trust?
A. The law requires the executor or personal representative to give you notice when the will has been filed with the court. It then becomes a matter of public record. You can contact the courthouse and request a copy of the will. If you are a beneficiary under a living trust, the law requires the trustee to give you notice. A living trust is not a matter of public record.

Q. How do I collect the proceeds from life insurance, 401(k) plans, IRAs and other contract-related assets?
A. The plan administrator for these assets or accounts typically requires a certified death certificate and a fully executed claim form. Contact the plan administrator for details.

Q. Are all assets subject to administration?
A. Probate assets that are titled in your loved one’s individual name may require administration. Property titled as joint tenancy with rights of survivorship automatically passes, by operation of law, to the surviving owner(s) when one owner dies. Assets such as life insurance, 401(k) plans, IRAs and other contract-related assets automatically pass to the named beneficiaries upon the owner’s death.

Q. What if my loved one had a lot of debt?
A. If the estate has no money or assets to satisfy the debt, it is canceled. If the estate has assets, they must be used to satisfy any debts before the assets are distributed according to the will or state laws.

When a Loved One Passes Away

Next Steps

Many do not realize the extensive legal and administrative work that follows the death of an individual. It is best to plan ahead of time, where possible, for these eventualities. If anything, be sure to contact an estate planning attorney to guide you through the process. If we can be of any help to you or your advisors during this time, please don’t hesitate to contact Shriners Hospitals for Children®. We want to help in any way we can.

Don Gorbandt
Corporate Director of Planned & Major Giving
Phone: 813.367.2241
Fax: 813.281.7156
Email: dgorbandt@shrinenet.org
2900 N. Rocky Point Dr.
Tampa, FL 33607

https://shcgiftplanning.org/your-planning-library
Clare Meade
Senior Regional Planned & Major Giving Director
Phone: 813.217.3118
Fax: 813.281.7156
Email: cmeade@shrinenet.org
2900 N. Rocky Point Dr.
Tampa, FL 33607

https://shcgiftplanning.org/cmeade
Kathleen Luzier-Bogolea
Senior Regional Planned & Major Giving Director
Phone: 813.518.7746
Fax: 813.281.7156
Email: kluzier-bogolea@shrinenet.org
2900 N. Rocky Point Dr.
Tampa, FL 33607

https://shcgiftplanning.org/kluzier-bogolea
MJ Miller
Senior Regional Planned & Major Giving Director
Phone: 801.214.5351
Fax: 813.281.7156
Email: mjmiller@shrinenet.org
2900 N. Rocky Point Dr.
Tampa, FL 33607

https://shcgiftplanning.org/mjmiller
Terri Andrews
Senior Regional Planned & Major Giving Director
Phone: 314.920.0716
Fax: 813.281.7156
Email: tandrews@shrinenet.org
2900 N. Rocky Point Dr.
Tampa, FL 33607

https://shcgiftplanning.org/tandrews
David Cantrell
Senior Regional Planned & Major Giving Director
Phone: 813.285.6277
Fax: 813.281.7156
Email: dcantrell@shrinenet.org
2900 N. Rocky Point Dr.
Tampa, FL 33607

https://shcgiftplanning.org/dcantrell
Alison Petty
Director of Planned and Major Giving Operations
Phone: 813.367.2241
Fax: 813.281.7156
Email: apetty@shrinenet.org
2900 N. Rocky Point Dr.
Tampa, FL 33607

https://shcgiftplanning.org/apetty
Natalie Deniz
Planned & Major Giving Specialist
Phone: 813.518.7707
Fax: 813.281.7156
Email: ndeniz@shrinenet.org
2900 N. Rocky Point Dr.
Tampa, FL 33607

https://shcgiftplanning.org/ndeniz
Soledad Toca
Planned & Major Giving Specialist
Phone: 813.518.7615
Fax: 813.281.7156
Email: stoca@shrinenet.org
2900 N. Rocky Point Dr.
Tampa, FL 33607

https://shcgiftplanning.org/stoca
Bob Hawkes
Planned & Major Giving Officer
Phone: 813.367.2794
Fax: 813.281.7156
Email: bob.hawkes@shrinenet.org
2900 N. Rocky Point Dr.
Tampa, FL 33607

https://shcgiftplanning.org/bobhawkes
Jennifer Hughes
Director of Principal Gifts and Campaigns
Phone: 713.202.6495
Fax: 813.281.7156
Email: jhughes@shrinenet.org
2900 N. Rocky Point Dr.
Tampa, FL 33607

https://shcgiftplanning.org/jhughes
Catherine McDonough
Manager of Corporate and Foundation Relations
Phone: 813.205.2719
Fax: 813.281.7156
Email: cmcdonough@shrinenet.org
2900 N. Rocky Point Dr.
Tampa, FL 33607

https://shcgiftplanning.org/cmcdonough
Jacqui Kasper
Associate Director, Principal Gifts and Campaigns
Phone: 813.344.6167
Fax: 813.281.7156
Email: jkasper@shrinenet.org
2900 N. Rocky Point Dr.
Tampa, FL 33607

https://shcgiftplanning.org/jkasper
Jeremy Tomlinson
Associate Director, Corporate & Community Engagement
Phone: 813.518.7635
Fax: 813.281.7156
Email: jetomlinson@shrinenet.org
2900 N. Rocky Point Dr.
Tampa, FL 33607

https://shcgiftplanning.org/jetomlinson
Stacey Perlmutter
Director of Development
Phone: 413.787.2000
Email: sperlmutter@shrinenet.org
516 Carew St.
Springfield, MA 01104

https://shcgiftplanning.org/sperlmutter
Shiva Damghany
Director of Development
Phone: 617.371.4746
Email: sdamghany@shrinenet.org
51 Blossom St.
Boston, MA 02114

https://shcgiftplanning.org/sdamghany
Carolyn Wahto
Development Officer
Phone: 617.371.4807
Email: cwahto@shrinenet.org
51 Blossom St.
Boston, MA 02114

https://shcgiftplanning.org/cwahto
David Schumacher
Director of Development
Phone: 814.875.8781
Email: daschumacher@shrinenet.org
1645 W. 8th St.
Erie, PA 16505

https://shcgiftplanning.org/daschumacher
Terry Diamond
Director of Development
Phone: 215.430.4055
Email: tdiamond@shrinenet.org
3551 N. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19140

https://shcgiftplanning.org/tdiamond
Bonnie Meister
Development Officer
Phone: 215.430.4046
Email: bmeister@shrinenet.org
3551 N. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19140

https://shcgiftplanning.org/bmeister
Paul Finelli
Director of Development
Phone: 864.255.7850
Email: pfinelli@shrinenet.org
950 W. Farris Rd.
Greenville, SC 29605

https://shcgiftplanning.org/pfinelli
Jennifer Pearson
Development Officer
Phone: 864.255.8770
Email: jfpearson@shrinenet.org
950 W. Farris Rd.
Greenville, SC 29605

https://shcgiftplanning.org/jfpearson
Christie Waters
Donor Development Associate
Phone: 864.255.8765
Email: cwaters@shrinenet.org
950 W. Farris Rd.
Greenville, SC 29605

https://shcgiftplanning.org/cwaters
Dale Wallenius
Director of Development
Phone: 859.268.5770
Email: dwallenius@shrinenet.org
110 Conn Terrace
Lexington, KY 40508

https://shcgiftplanning.org/dwallenius
McRae Stephenson
Development Officer
Phone: 859.368.5766
Email: ann.stephenson@shrinenet.org
110 Conn Terrace
Lexington, KY 40507

https://shcgiftplanning.org/annstephenson
Alicia Argiz-Lyons
Director of Development
Phone: 813.975.7118
Email: aargiz-lyons@shrinenet.org
12502 USF Pine Dr.
Tampa, FL 33612

https://shcgiftplanning.org/aargiz-lyons
Thomas Sloan
Director of Development
Phone: 713.793.3709
Email: tsloan@shrinenet.org
6977 Main St.
Houston, TX 77030

https://shcgiftplanning.org/tsloan
Debra Richmond
Development Officer
Phone: 713.793.3947
Email: derichmond@shrinenet.org
6977 Main St.
Houston, TX 77030

https://shcgiftplanning.org/derichmond
Lisa Court
Director of Development
Phone: 409.770.6957
Email: lcourt@shrinenet.org
815 Market St.
Galveston, TX 77550

https://shcgiftplanning.org/lcourt
Lisa Mignerey
Development Officer
Phone: 409.770.6853
Email: lmignerey@shrinenet.org
815 Market St.
Galveston, TX 77550

https://shcgiftplanning.org/lmignerey
Jennifer Martin
Director of Development
Phone: 318.226.4304
Email: jmmartin@shrinenet.org
3100 Samford Ave.
Shreveport, LA 71103

https://shcgiftplanning.org/jmmartin
Jennifer Laurent
Development Officer
Phone: 318.222.5704
Email: jlaurent@shrinenet.org
3100 Samford Ave.
Shreveport, LA 71103

https://shcgiftplanning.org/jlaurent
Aaron J. Hanson
Director of Development
Phone: 626.389.9566
Email: aahanson@shrinenet.org
909 S. Fair Oaks Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91101

https://shcgiftplanning.org/aahanson
Joanne David
Development Officer
Phone: 626.389.9587
Email: jodavid@shrinenet.org
909 S. Fair Oaks Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91101

https://shcgiftplanning.org/jodavid
Nathan Clark
Director of Development
Phone: 801.536.3567
Email: naclark@shrinenet.org
1275 E. Fairfax Rd.
Salt Lake City, UT 84103

https://shcgiftplanning.org/naclark
Kristin Liszkowski
Associate Director of Development
Phone: 801.536.3812
Email: kliszkowski@shrinenet.org
1275 E. Fairfax Rd.
Salt Lake City, UT 84103

https://shcgiftplanning.org/kliszkowski
Alan Anderson
Director of Development
Phone: 916.453.2008
Email: asanderson@shrinenet.org
2425 Stockton Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95817

https://shcgiftplanning.org/asanderson
Melissa Wood
Associate Director of Development
Phone: 916.453.2110
Email: mwood@shrinenet.org
2425 Stockton Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95817

https://shcgiftplanning.org/mwood
Bettina Kohlbrenner
Development Officer
Phone: 916.453.2321
Email: bettina.kohlbrenner@shrinenet.org
2425 Stockton Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95817

https://shcgiftplanning.org/bettinakohlbrenner
Janessa Pulido
Development Officer–Silicon Valley
Phone: 916.453.2321
Email: jpulido@shrinenet.org
2425 Stockton Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95817

https://shcgiftplanning.org/jpulido
Kathy Park
Director of Development
Phone: 971.544.3334
Email: kkpark@shrinenet.org
3101 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd.
Portland, OR 97239

https://shcgiftplanning.org/kkpark
Devereaux Dion
Associate Director of Development
Phone: 971.282.4605
Email: ddion@shrinenet.org
3101 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd.
Portland, OR 97239

https://shcgiftplanning.org/ddion
Angelique Heinzen
Director of Development
Phone: 509.744.1242
Email: aheinzen@shrinenet.org
911 W. 5th Ave.
Spokane, WA 99210

https://shcgiftplanning.org/aheinzen
Lisa Smith
Associate Director of Development
Phone: 509.252.3381
Email: lissmith@shrinenet.org
911 W. 5th Ave.
Spokane, WA 99210

https://shcgiftplanning.org/lissmith
Lori Suan
Director of Development
Phone: 808.951.3609
Email: lsuan@shrinenet.org
1310 Punahou St.
Honolulu, HI 96826

https://shcgiftplanning.org/lsuan
Dianne Johnson
Director of Development
Phone: 314.692.6430
Email: dsjohnson@shrinenet.org
4400 Clayton Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63110

https://shcgiftplanning.org/dsjohnson
Janet Cline
Development Officer
Phone: 314.872.8330
Email: jcline@shrinenet.org
4400 Clayton Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63110

https://shcgiftplanning.org/jcline
Jennifer Sutch
Director of Development
Phone: 612.596.6201
Email: jsutch@shrinenet.org
215 Radio Drive, Suite 100
Woodbury, MN 55125

https://shcgiftplanning.org/jsutch
Dan Winter
Director of Development
Phone: 773.385.5805
Email: dwinter@shrinenet.org
2211 N. Oak Park Dr.
Chicago, IL 60707

https://shcgiftplanning.org/dwinter
Janet Coffey
Development Officer
Phone: 773.385.5451
Email: jcoffey@shrinenet.org
2211 N. Oak Park Dr.
Chicago, IL 60707

https://shcgiftplanning.org/jcoffey
Mark McCauley
Development Officer
Phone: 773.385.5879
Email: mamccauley@shrinenet.org
2211 N. Oak Park Dr.
Chicago, IL 60707

https://shcgiftplanning.org/mamccauley
Bethany Deines
Director of Development
Phone: 513.872.6029
Email: bdeines@shrinenet.org
3229 Burnet Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45229

https://shcgiftplanning.org/bdeines
Kari Tucker
Associate Director of Development
Phone: 513.872.6100
Email: kari.tucker@shrinenet.org
3229 Burnet Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45229

https://shcgiftplanning.org/karitucker

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When a Loved One Passes Away

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