A Loved One Has Died and You May Be a Beneficiary

Beneficiaries are often reluctant to make inquiry because they don’t want to appear mistrustful or greedy. But there are deadlines that must be observed. For example, there is a statutory period in which the surviving spouse has to assert certain rights.

Generally, there is no right to inherit. But there are exceptions such as a spouse’s right to claim a share of the decedent’s estate, and the right of heirs to a portion if there was no planning (called “intestacy”).

There may be issues that you are not aware of. For example: Are administration expenses being fairly apportioned? Is there more than one provision for you? Aside from the will or trust you could be a named beneficiary on an asset, a surviving joint tenant. Even if there is no provision for you, you could be a contingent beneficiary—that is, you take in the future if another beneficiary dies before you do.

Usually, people wait to seek representation until they become frustrated that they are not being treated fairly. Since there are many deadlines that have to be observed it is important to include yourself in the process early.

First steps and initial meeting preparation. Gather as much information as you can. Make a list of what you believe the decedent owned, debts that may be owed, and who the lawyer was that planned his estate. Gather background information such as residence of the decedent and the date of birth and date of death (both of which are on the death certificate).

Call our office for a consultation. 847-674-0200. The fee for the initial consultation is $450. It typically takes about 1 to 1 ½ hours.