First Steps To Follow After the Death of a Loved One
The period immediately following the death of a family member or loved one can be tumultuous. There are so many things to take care of, so many people to inform – and all the while having to deal with your own sense of loss and grief. It is entirely possible that taking steps in order to receive compensation from the person who caused the death of a person close to you is the last thing on your mind. After all, what end can it serve? It won’t bring your loved one back. However, you must think to the future even in this difficult time especially if there are other innocent dependents such as children. Your own immediate financial resources may be strained and the costs and expenses of a funeral can put an unreasonable burden on you. It is critical that you take the steps necessary in order to file a wrongful death claim in Virginia. So what are these steps?
The state of Virginia allows a wrongful death claim to be brought before a period of two years have expired after the death itself. Of course it goes without saying that the sooner you start the process, the better chance you have of receiving a favorable judgment. The facts are fresh in everyone’s mind, and it’s easier for witnesses to recall the exact circumstances.
The Administrator of the Estate
In case the person who has died was intestate (left no will), an “administrator of the estate” will need to be appointed who will perform all the necessary duties on behalf of the deceased. The administrator of the estate will be responsible for bringing the case of wrongful death against the relevant parties. These are the first steps that you should take after a loved one has died. There are certain procedures that need to be followed and a hierarchy is laid down in the statutes for determining who will be appointed as the administrator.
The first preference goes to the surviving spouse. You need to produce a copy of the death certificate as well as estimates of the assets solely held. Your wrongful death attorney in Richmond, Virginia will be able to better advise you as to what exactly you need and where you need to go. After all, they will be most familiar with the procedures to ensure that nothing goes wrong.
If there is no surviving spouse or if he or she does not wish to take on the responsibilities of the administrator, the next preference is given to the legal heirs at law. In such a case, more than one person may qualify. It’s important to note that the mere fact of taking on this responsibility does not mean that the person inherits property or even receives any of the damages obtained through a wrongful death case. Those beneficiaries are determined elsewhere.
It is hard to overstate the need to hire a qualified wrongful death attorney. During this difficult time you need all the help you can get and our Richmond wrongful death lawyers will take the burden off your shoulders so that you are minimally distracted by these problems. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation at (804) 554-4444.