For the children and spouses of mesothelioma victims, both the illness period and its aftermath are typically characterized by a myriad of powerful emotions-including fear, anger, guilt and regret. It is also common for the constant stress of the grieving and bereavement periods to be compounded by financial struggles and an overwhelming list of new responsibilities.
Losing a loved one is devastating enough. Families of asbestos cancer victims don’t deserve to suffer the logistics of their tragic loss too. This ongoing series is dedicated to providing information and guidance to the newly bereaved as well as those anticipating the loss of a loved one in the near future.
Over the course of the next month, we’ll feature articles covering topics including: legal rights of asbestos’ victims families, benefits available to asbestos-injured veterans’ dependents, making hospice and palliative care arrangements for a terminally ill loved one, providing support to a family member suffering from mesothelioma, coping with grief, types of bereavement and what to expect from each, helping the terminally ill draft advance directives and other final documents-and more.
Families of Meso Victims-PART TWO
Now that you’ve received a basic introduction to posthumous legal action for victims of asbestos cancer, a lawyer can help you begin the process of continuing or initiating the appropriate type of claim. To get the most out of an initial meeting with the asbestos attorney representing you and your family (more on choosing an attorney in the next installment of our series), read the following sections outlining two basic things to know about posthumous asbestos-injury litigation.
1. Choosing a Person to Act as Personal Representative (PR)
Before taking any of the preliminary steps in either a survival or wrongful death action, a PR must be chosen (and then legally appointed) to act on behalf of the deceased. One challenge sometimes encountered by families of mesothelioma victims is determining whom this individual should be. It is up to the family members to agreeon a PR, before proceeding to have a PR legally appointed. In situations where there is a dispute over who shall be named PR, a court hearing is generally required-thus, adding time to the overall length of your survival or wrongful death claim and delaying the award or settlement of any resultant compensatory damages.
2. How Personal Representatives (PRs) Are Appointed
As we covered in the previous section, PRs are officially designated representatives of a deceased individual’s estate and any general matters relating to probate law. An asbestos cancer lawyer can only file and/or pursue legal action on behalf of an original claimant OR a legally appointed PR.
To be appointed as a PR for a deceased asbestos exposure victim, the individual seeking PR status must file a petition or motion with the state’s probate court. As in most matters regarding survival actions or wrongful death claims, state laws and statutes govern the appointment process. You can access more detailed information on probate law for your state here or consult with your asbestos cancer lawyer directly.