Legal-Ease: I lost a loved one; now what?

Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney at Schroeder Law LLC in Putnam County. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at or at 419-659-2058. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.

The first step to saying goodbye to a family member involves taking your time to suitably grieve and be together with family and friends. One of the practicalities following a loved one passing away is hiring an attorney to help sort through and change ownership of assets.

It can help that family is in town and available to have a meeting with the attorney. Some of the documents to be examined include the original will and trust agreements, a list of all financial responsibilities the loved one had when he or she died and every piece of real estate and personal property.

You will need to determine which items fall into non-probate and probate. Basically if it comes with rules attached on how to govern it moving forward, it is considered “non-probate.” Probate is a court-overseen process for assets that do not come with set rules and guidelines on transferring ownership.

My deepest pain comes when I must say goodbye to family, friends and other loved ones when they pass away. To me, the loss of a loved one is the most severe feeling of broken-heartedness imaginable. Unfortunately, physical death is a part of life. Here is a practical guide of what to do when we are forced to face this inevitability.

First, take time to breathe deeply and grieve. Meet with the funeral director of your choice, plan your method of saying goodbye and greet the out-of-town family and friends who will come to grieve with you. It is OK to cry and reminisce and love.

Read more about the legal practicalities following the death of a loved one in Lee’s article for the Lima News, “Legal-Ease: I lost a loved one; now what?”

Source:, “Legal-Ease: I lost a loved one; now what?” by Lee R. Schroeder, February 11, 2017.

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