What to Do When a Parent or Grandparent Passes Away Unexpectedly

No one likes to think about it, but there may come a time when you find yourself in a situation when one of your parents, grandparents or in-laws passes away unexpectedly. If you find yourself in such a situation, you will need to know what to do in order to take care of your family’s emotional, legal and financial needs. Being prepared with the knowledge and knowing what questions to ask can go a long way toward making you feel more in control of the situation and will allow you to better care for yourself and your family members, as well as answer questions posed by relatives and family friends.

Take a look at the tips below to find out what steps you should take when a parent, grandparent or another relative you are responsible for passes away suddenly.

Delegate Necessary Tasks to Other Family Members

When the unthinkable happens, many people have a tendency to try to take on all the tasks that need to be done on their own. This may not only result in some things being done poorly or incorrectly, but it can also exhaust you and make you feel even more emotionally drained than you already are. When someone dies suddenly, much of the time family members and close friends are happy to help with things like funeral arrangements, calling other relatives with the bad news, cleaning out your parent’s or grandparent’s home, and cooking meals.

Write a list of all the things that need to be done and delegate tasks to those people who are willing to help. This will give you more time to rest, help your children and other relatives, and deal with your own feelings.

Find Out if Your Parent or Grandparent Left a Will

Believe it or not, many people pass away without leaving a will, even those who own property. Sometimes, people leave a will and forget to tell their family members about it. If you discover that your parent or grandparent has passed away without leaving a will, you will need to contact a probate attorney to deal with any property they have left behind.

Florida Probate Law Firm, a Florida probate attorney with offices in Boca Raton, Palm Beach Gardens, Fort Lauderdale, and New York City specializes in helping people whose relatives have passed away suddenly with legal matters. A representative from the law firm says, “Probate is the legal process of settling a person’s estate after they have passed away. In general, a decedent’s estate will need to go through probate whenever he or she died owning property in their sole name, without beneficiary designations. We at Florida Probate Law Firm have years of experience helping surviving family members through this sometimes complicated process.”

Consider Seeing a Therapist or Psychologist

Many people do not realize that they have unresolved emotional issues until a family member passes away. While our loved ones are still living, it is often easy to dismiss our feelings regarding negative experiences or a broken relationship. Once someone is no longer alive, feelings of guilt for not resolving issues while there was still time often surface. If you find yourself, your spouse or one of your children in such a situation after a family member passes away, it’s a good idea to see a therapist or psychologist who specializes in helping people with loss.

A mental health professional will be able to help you deal with and resolve your issues much more quickly than you would be able to on your own so that you will be able to get on with your life and put your negative feelings behind you.

Consider Selling or Donating Some of Your Parent’s or Grandparent’s Belongings

Although it can be difficult to think about, it is unlikely that you will be able to keep all of your parent’s or grandparent’s belongings once they pass away. After you have gone through their home and found the items that you want to keep as remembrances, consider donating the rest to charity or holding an estate sale. Because parting with items you remember from your childhood or earlier life can be difficult, there are several organizations that specialize in helping surviving relatives donate or sell their loved ones’ estates.

When considering a professional estate seller, it is important to make sure he or she is reputable. Be sure to ask for references that include clients they have worked with recently, and check for online reviews of their services on websites like Yelp. It’s also a good idea to check the Better Business Bureau’s website for complaints against the company.

For more great family tips, check out the other blogs on Cyber Parent.

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