How to handle finances after the death of a loved one

Losing a loved one is emotionally trying. It happened to me recently, unexpectedly. And while I processed my emotions, I was increasingly overwhelmed with handling the accounting and finances that also required my attention.

When someone dies, balancing grief while managing their financial affairs can be a complex and challenging task. Seeking expert guidance can allow you the space you need to remember and celebrate your loved one, while still giving you the confidence that their financial affairs will be in order. 

MMT Chartered Professional Accountants seeks to provide compassionate guidance on how to navigate the financial responsibilities that arise after a loved one passes away. We’re here to make the difficult process easier, offering you the financial assistance you need so that you have the space to process your emotions. 

In this article, we’re exploring some of the things you’ll need to consider after a loved one dies, and reassuring you that you don’t have to face these financial expectations alone. If you’ve recently lost a loved one, reach out to our skilled team, and find the caring accounting expertise you need.   

The emotional and financial journey

Grief is a deeply personal journey, and there is no right or wrong way to experience it. In the midst of mourning, dealing with the financial aspects of a loved one’s passing can be a heavy burden. Here’s how to approach these responsibilities:

Notify relevant parties

Begin by informing close family members and friends about the loss. If your loved one had financial obligations or accounts, notify the appropriate institutions, such as banks, creditors, and insurance companies.

Secure important documents

Locate and safeguard important financial documents, including the will, life insurance policies, bank statements, tax returns, and property deeds. These documents will be necessary to settle the estate.

Contact a financial expert

As accountants, we can guide you through the financial implications of the loss, including estate planning, taxation, and investment management.

Review the will

If there is a will, review it carefully to understand your loved one’s wishes regarding asset distribution. If there isn’t a will, the estate will be subject to applicable laws. In Canada, estate law, including wills, is governed by the provinces. It can be helpful to seek the advice of a lawyer in your area. 

Handle immediate expenses

Identify and prioritize immediate financial obligations. These should include funeral expenses, outstanding bills, and mortgage or rent payments. You may be able to use your loved one’s assets to cover these costs. 

Gather information

Compile a comprehensive list of your loved one’s assets and liabilities. This includes bank accounts, investments, real estate, outstanding debts, and personal possessions. We can guide you through the process of identifying the documents you’ll need in order to settle the estate.

You are not alone

Grief and loss can feel like very isolating experiences, but you don’t have to face them alone. When it comes to sorting out your loved one’s finances, our team can help you, with compassionate and professional accounting services.

We’re experts at estate and taxation law, so you can be confident you’ll have the advice you need to navigate the complexities of inheritance law, capital gains tax, and more. If you require assistance to determine the value of assets, like property or investments, know that we have the expertise to provide accurate valuations.

Simply managing the administration of an estate can be an intricate process. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with tasks like asset distribution, filing necessary documents, and settling debts and liabilities. In fact, not only can it be reassuring to have expert financial advice during this difficult time, but it may also save you considerable expense and time. Accounting professionals can help you to avoid costly mistakes and ensure compliance with relevant laws, avoiding preventable legal repercussions. 

Ultimately, we aim to provide you with peace of mind during a particularly challenging time. Our expertise can help to alleviate the stress and anxiety associated with handling financial affairs after a loss, giving you the space you need to grieve. 

Compassionate, professional guidance

The period following the loss of a loved one is undoubtedly one of the most emotionally challenging times in life. While the grief may be overwhelming, we can help with careful and diligent guidance on the practical aspects of accounting and finances.

We understand the challenges of managing an intricate financial landscape following a loss, and want to ensure that your loved one’s wishes are honoured and the estate is managed efficiently. We provide services for trust and estate returns, inheritance tax management, and estate planning. Contact us today to find out how our guidance can give you the support you need so you can focus on preserving the memory and legacy of your loved one. 

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