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Family Estate Manager is a simple, worry-free and efficient way

to address the practical, legal and financial aspects of estate settlement

DIY

DIY

tools combined with toll-free access to legal professionals

Legal

Legal

and lawful in every jurisdiction of North America
Simple

Simple

and worry-free approach to settling an estate
Distribute

Distribute

assets in accordance with your wishes and the law
Eliminate

Eliminate

unnecessary legal fees and probate costs
Peace of Mind

Peace of Mind

to you and your loved ones

LEGAL IN ALL JURISDICTIONS ACROSS THE U.S. AND CANADA

Get toll free access to legal professionals who can save your time and money

Follow simple step-by-step instructions with our DIY tools and restrictions
Follow simple steps to identify assets and liabilities
Determine if you need to go to probate court
Learn to handle estate funds, including making loans from the estate
Distribute assets in accordance with your loved one's wishes and the law
Learn how the estate can pay the debts, instead of you
Auto populate key contact information into every document
Take the final steps to formally close the estate

Your information is encrypted, safe and secure.

Convenient and easy to use, but if you have questions our team of customer support experts can help you.

ACCESS TO PRACTICAL ADVICE AND STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS
TO SAVE YOU TIME AND MONEY

By following our exclusive and self-directed process, you can:

  • Consult with legal professionals on our toll-free attorney helpline
  • Minimize error by following our step-by-step instructions
  • Legal in all jurisdictions across the U.S. and Canada
  • Calculate and appraise the value of the assets and debts on our financial worksheets
  • Access key contact information for family, friends, associates and government offices
  • Use our library for letters and notifications to send to individuals, businesses and government
  • Organize your next steps by topic or date
  • Read relevant articles and review FAQs

I loved the timely response of the team and they were easy to work with while I was going through a difficult time of managing everything when I lost my mother.

Emily J.

CA

Settlement advice from attorneys at Family Estate Manager helped me get many questions answered immediately without hassle.

John M.

TX

For my clients the most helpful part of the tool was that the documents were easily available which could be updated at any time on any device.

David W.

IN

Frequently Asked Questions

I forgot my Account ID, login email or password?

It is easy to recover the login information if you lose your Account ID, login email or password. You will need to retain your 7-digit activation code which you had received while purchasing your Family Estate Manager and the birth date of the estate owner. Click on Can't Access Your Account? link under the login form and correctly enter the above information to access your account.

Is my personal information secure?

Your privacy is important to us. We are committed to maintaining the security of personal information. We employ reasonable security measures to secure and protect the information we receive. Please remember, though, that no method of electronic transmission or storage is 100% secure. Please read more about our Privacy Policy.

Does anyone else have access to my account?

No one other than who has the login details associated with the account will have access to your account. The password for an account is encrypted and cannot be accessed unless shared directly.

How long into the future can I continue using the services of Family Estate Manager?

Family Estate Manager comes with unlimited use. You can use it as long as you would like.

Can another family member purchase the services of Family Estate Manager?

Another family member will need to purchase the services of Family Estate Manager as a separate account. The tool is designed to be used for 1 estate owner only.

How do I choose a funeral home? Aren't they all the same?

Actually, funeral homes can be quite different. What distinguishes most funeral homes from one another is the level of care and service they provide to you and your loved one before, during, and after the funeral. People often select a funeral home or cemetery because it's close to home, has served the family in the past, or has been recommended by someone they trust. But limiting your search to just one funeral home means you may risk paying more than necessary for the funeral, goods and services. The Federal Trade Commission advises that comparison shopping doesn't have to be difficult, especially if it's done before the need for a funeral arises. Thinking ahead can help you make informed and thoughtful decisions about funeral arrangements. It allows you to choose the specific items you want and need, and to compare the prices several funeral providers charge.

If you visit a funeral home in person, the funeral provider is required by law to give you a general price list (GPL) itemizing the cost of the items and services the funeral home offers. If the GPL does not include specific prices of caskets or outer burial containers, the law requires the funeral director to show you the price lists for those items before showing you the items.

Sometimes it's more convenient and less stressful to "shop" funeral homes by telephone. The Funeral Rule requires funeral directors to provide price information on the phone to any caller who asks for it. In addition, many funeral homes are happy to mail you their price lists, although that is not required by law.

When comparing prices, be sure to consider the total cost of all the items together, in addition to the costs of single items. Every funeral home should have price lists that include all the items essential for the different types of arrangements it offers. Many funeral homes offer package funerals that may cost less than buying individual items or services. Offering package funerals is permitted, as long as an itemized price list also is provided. But you can't accurately compare total costs unless you use the price lists.

How is a cremation service different from a traditional funeral service?

It isn’t. At least it doesn’t have to be different. The family may choose as much formality as they feel they want, or as little. They also have more options when cremation is chosen. One option is to hold a memorial service after cremation. Another option is to gather at a convenient time for the final committal of the cremated remains.

Why is it important to attend a funeral?

A funeral service is an important part of the grieving process. It provides an opportunity to express grief, share memories, and celebrate a life lived. Attending a funeral can bring peace of mind and closure to surviving family members and friends.

Is it a good idea to prepay funeral expenses?

Planning your funeral service in advance can take care of the details, while prepaying ahead of time can take care of the eventual expense of the funeral service. In many states, a prearranged funeral service funded by life insurance may be treated as an exempt asset for Medicaid qualification purposes. This allows you to prearrange the service you desire while maintaining your Medicaid assistance eligibility. Many states have no maximum limit in the amount of a prearranged funeral service.* *Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor before applying for Medicaid assistance to learn more about your state’s requirements. Effective January 1, 1997, New York State law mandates that all contracts for prearranged funeral arrangements executed by applicants for or recipients of supplemental social security income benefits or medical assistance be irrevocable.

Do I need to hire an attorney in order to settle a loved one's estate?

The laws of most states do not require that you hire an attorney. However, it is always quicker and easier if you do. Use the indicators below to determine if you need an attorney.

  1. Larger estates usually require court approval to liquidate assets, pay bills, make distributions to heirs, and close the estate. There are also tax issues with larger estates, especially those over $1 million, which need to be analyzed to maximize the distribution to heirs.
  2. The next item to evaluate whether you need an attorney is the complexity of the estate. The more assets the decedent holds in their name alone, generally the more complex the estate and the greater the need for an attorney. If there is Real Property owned by the decedent that does not have a joint tenant or tenant by the entirety on the deed, an attorney will likely be needed.
  3. If there is any disagreement among surviving family members who are either named in the will or may be entitled to a share of the estate through the laws of intestacy, you need to consult with an attorney. Families sometimes contest the validity of a will, the appointment of a particular Executor or Personal Representative, or a sudden change in estate assets in the last months of the decedent’s life. They sometimes contest the competency of the decedent, as well.

What kind of business matters must be handled after the death of a loved one?

A will simply leaves instructions for the handling of an individual’s financial affairs. Settling the business affairs of the deceased requires immediate attention. Notifying creditors, filing insurance and veteran benefit claims, collecting Social Security, closing bank accounts, and making necessary changes to business relationships must be handled. The Family Estate Manager™ recognizes the need for an efficient organizational system to assist families in handling after-death business matters. It is designed to help manage these important responsibilities during an emotionally charged experience. The Family Estate Manager provides:

  1. Pre-written letters with instructions on how to complete.
  2. A step-by-step organizational and tracking system.
  3. Tools to help you reduce professional fees and unnecessary service charges. Anyone charged with handling these complex matters will appreciate these resources and guidance.

How soon do I need to start the settlement process?

Most courts do not have a fixed timeline for settling an estate. We do not suggest you unnecessarily delay the process, but you won’t lose any rights if you do nothing during the first 30-60 days after death. Also, keep in mind there is no legal requirement for you to do anything. There are no “probate police” who will come and put you in jail. If the probate assets are greater than the debts of the decedent, you will be unable to distribute any of said assets to surviving family members unless you go through the courts. If the debts are greater than the probate assets, you may choose to do nothing, as you will be running around paying creditors with nothing at the end of the process for surviving family members, something you are not legally required to do. However, surviving spouses, especially in community property states, may very well be responsible personally for the debts of their spouse, a situation that would necessitate setting up an estate.

I am a United States veteran. Will the government pay for my funeral service?

Unless the death is service related, most families find that additional funding is necessary in order to provide the type of funeral service they find appropriate for their loved one. Under certain conditions, Social Security provides a one-time death benefit to the spouse of an eligible recipient. For non-service related deaths, the VA will pay up to $300 for burial and funeral expenses and, in lieu of burial in a National Cemetery, a plot interment allowance up to $300. To find out exactly what benefits you are eligible to receive, contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213, or visit their website at www.ssa.gov. For veteran’s assistance, contact the VA at 1-800-827-1000, or go to www.cem.va.gov.