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Legal Matters You Might Need To Take Care of Upon the Death of a Parent

  • Probate process is necessary to administer the deceased person’s estate and distribute assets.
  • Estate taxes may need to be filed with IRS depending on the size of the estate.
  • Proper legal steps for transferring ownership of the property through a deed must be followed.
  • Life insurance and other benefit providers must be notified and reviewed.
  • Disagreements among trust beneficiaries can be resolved with help from an experienced trust attorney.

Losing a parent can be a very emotional and difficult experience, and the last thing on your mind is probably legal matters. However, taking care of certain legal matters is essential after your parent’s passing. This blog is a guide to help you determine what legal issues must be addressed and how to navigate them.


Probate is the legal procedure of administering a deceased person’s estate. If your parent passed away and had a will, it must be probated. This means that the court will review the will and appoint an executor of the estate. If your parent did not have a will, the court will appoint an administrator to handle the estate. During the probate process, all debts and taxes the deceased owe will be paid, and the remaining assets will be distributed to the beneficiaries.

Estate Taxes

Estate taxes are taxes that must be paid on the assets of a deceased person’s estate. Depending on the estate size, filing an estate tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may be necessary. Your parent’s accountant or attorney can help you determine if an estate tax return needs to be filed.

Filing the Will

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If your parent had a will, it must be filed with the local court after their passing. You must provide a copy of the death certificate and notify all beneficiaries mentioned in the will. This helps begin settling the estate and distributing assets to the beneficiaries.

Transfer of Property

To transfer ownership of your parent’s property, you must go through the legal process of transferring the property through a deed. Different types of property may require a different process to go through. Here are some examples:


If you inherit a house, you will need to go through the probate process and then transfer the title of the house into your name.

Real estate

If you inherit real estate, such as land or a commercial building, you may have to go through a different process than a traditional deed transfer. Your attorney can help walk you through this process.

Bank accounts

For bank accounts, you will need to transfer these assets into your name through the financial institution. You may need to provide a copy of the death certificate as well as other documents in order to do this.


Investments, such as stocks and bonds, must be transferred into your name as well. Depending on the type of investments held by your parent, you may need to contact the broker or financial institution holding them in order to do this.

By knowing the proper legal steps for transferring property through a deed, you can ensure that the property is properly transferred to you. It’s important to remember that these processes may take some time, and it’s always best to consult with an attorney if you have any questions or concerns.

Insurance and Benefits

If your parent had life insurance, you must contact the insurance company to file a claim. You must also notify other benefit providers, such as Social Security, pensions, and retirement plans. It’s important to review your parent’s life insurance policy, as it may have specific requirements to be met to receive benefits.

Trust Disputes

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If your parent had a trust, it must be maintained and administered according to their wishes. If there is disagreement among the beneficiaries of the trust, you may need to seek legal counsel in order to resolve any disputes. Make sure you employ the help of an experienced trust attorney to help navigate the process.

A good trust attorney can help you protect your interests and ensure the trust is administered correctly. They will also be able to provide guidance and advice on navigating other potential disputes regarding the estate. It’s important to remember that trusts are binding contracts, and all parties involved must abide by its terms.

It can be challenging to know what legal matters need to be addressed after the death of a parent. However, understanding probate and estate taxes, filing the will, transferring property through a deed, and handling insurance benefits are all important steps in managing your parent’s estate.

By knowing these processes and seeking help from an experienced attorney if needed, you’ll be able to ensure that their wishes are respected and that any disputes or disagreements among beneficiaries can be resolved quickly. Taking care of these legal issues promptly is essential for protecting your interests and those of other family members who may have been named in the will or trust.

About the Author


The information provided on this website is intended for general informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific matter. The content on this blog is based on the knowledge and experience of the authors up to the date of publication, and it may not reflect the most current legal standards, regulations, or interpretations.

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