After the Funeral: A Practical Memoir for Administering Your Loved One’s Estate may not sound like a must read book, but we promise, it is not as macabre or dry as you might think.
Eileen Moynahan was an intelligence analyst before she pivoted her skill set to something different after losing her parents in a car accident in 2012. Now, she is an estate organizer, private investigator and author. After the Funeral is a memoir of sorts, as well as a guide to how to get through the often tedious, and sometimes impossible task of organizing a deceased person’s (or persons in her case) estate.
You can buy her book online at all the major book sites including Amazon.
Why is her book important? Because pretty much every single person in this world will have to experience the death of a loved one. In a society where there are bank accounts, safety deposit boxes, mortgages and other forms of debt, it is important to make sure you know what you are doing.
Get an Estate Attorney
One of the biggest takeaways from the book is that you should hire an estate attorney, no matter how simple you believe the process will be. She found with her own experience that despite her parents having a clearly drawn out will, which named her executrix, she still needed additional legal authority to access bank accounts and safety deposit boxes, which the estate attorney helped issue.
What Moynahan does suggest is to do most of the work yourself because estate attorneys can be expensive. They can have rates as high as $400/hour. Of course, this is entirely dependent on you having the time and energy to go through this process, but Moynahan’s step-by-step guide does seem to provide an efficient way to take on this task.
Perhaps most importantly, Moynahan saw this process of organizing her parents’ estate as a way to become closer to her parents, and to help her through her grief.
At the end of the book, Moynahan summarizes the steps in a concise way, which is very helpful for anyone who doesn’t have time to read the book entirely (although it is a quick read).
Here are some of those suggestions:
- First things first; funeral arrangements. Everything else can wait.
- Secure the loved one’s home. Check doors, windows and thermostat settings.
- Get an EIN (employer identification number) for the estate, set up an estate bank account, and get multiple death certificates.
- Identifying the deceased’s assets and debts.
- Sort out utilities and subscriptions of the deceased.
- Have the estate attorney explain the terms of the will.
- Keep a diary on everything related to the estate.
- Go through your loved one’s belongings and only keep what has absolute personal significance.
For more information on making arrangements with a loved one ahead of time, check out our post here.
We also put together our own list of first steps here.
For anyone pondering the question of, “Should I have a will or not?” Read about our thoughts here.