A Step By Step Guide to Dealing with the Loss of a Parent

When you lose a parent, it can be a particularly difficult time emotionally. If you were chosen as the executor of your parent’s estate, you’ll have to complete a number of steps to make sure that it’s handled appropriately.

While it may be difficult to get over the loss of your parent, you’ll have to handle the estate in a timely manner so that beneficiaries and creditors can be taken care of.

Loss of Parent

Make Final Arrangements

One of the first things that you may to do is make the final arrangements for your parent. Typically, the funeral or visitation occurs only a few days after the death.

This means that you and your other family members will have to meet at the funeral home and plan. This could involve picking out a casket, flower arrangements, and other items for the ceremony.

This could also involve going through your parent’s will in order to determine how he or she wanted their funeral dealt with. You may also have to work out a payment plan or pay for the final arrangements out of the assets of the estate.

Collect Insurance Proceeds

If your deceased parent had a life insurance policy, it will be up to you to make sure that the policy pays out. As the executor of the estate, you’ll be in charge of sending a death certificate to the insurance company before a check can be issued.

You can find specific instructions on their company’s website, like TermLifeInsurance.org. If your parent did not have a life insurance policy, it may open your eyes to the importance of having a policy for your own loved ones. Paying for funeral arrangements out of pocket adds up quickly and can be very stressful.


You will also have to go through the probate process if you are the executor of the estate. This involves going down to your local county probate court and filing a petition to probate the estate. At that point, you’ll have to bring a copy of the will to the court to validate it. You will be sworn in as the executor of the estate and be given the power to distribute assets and pay creditors of the estate.

Inventory, Collection and Distribution

At this point, a big part of your job will be collecting assets and inventorying them. This means that you may have to collect assets from many different investment or savings accounts. In many cases, you want to open a checking account for the estate and transfer everything into it. Once you’ve done this, you will also need to take inventory of everything in the estate.

After you’ve determined what is in the estate, you also need to figure out who is owed money. In many jurisdictions, you have to publish a notice of death in the local newspaper so that creditors can send you claims against the estate. After you have collected these claims, you can pay them in the appropriate order, which is determined by your local probate laws. You may have to liquidate some assets to generate enough money to pay the claims.

Once the claims have been paid, you can distribute any remaining assets according to the will. After all of the assets have been distributed, you will go back to the probate and finalize the estate. At that point, you can move on and get back to your regular life.