Someone you love has just passed away. You’re the “responsible adult” in the family. Everyone is looking to you for guidance. It’s up to you to settle your loved one’s affairs and to do it quickly, fairly, and completely.

Now what? What do you need to get? Where do you get it? What do you need to do? How do you do it? Who can help? Who’s going to pay for all this? How do you get control of this situation? Where do you even start?

Start here.

This is a brief outline of what, in the typical case, a family needs to do to put a deceased loved one’s affairs in proper order. It can’t possibly cover everything that might be required or advisable for your family’s situation, but it does address many of the basic issues. I have included a timeline to give you a sense of where the different categories fit within the estate settlement process so you can better understand what you need to do and when you need to do it.

Click the titles below to navigate through the timeline.

(Time from date of death)

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