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Friday, July 22, 2016

Things to Do Following the Death of a Loved One: Part II

Part II of this series covers issues specific to successor trustees/trust administration.  Part I of this series can be found here.  

For Trusts:  The Person(s) Nominated as “Successor Trustee” May Also Need to:

  1. Inform the family/other beneficiaries named in the Trust that you are the Successor Trustee.
  2. Give copies of the Trust to known beneficiaries.
  3. Notify deceased person’s bank so that you can utilize the appropriate accounts for trust-related expesnes; the bank will probably want to see a copy of the Trust and a certified death certificate and/or an updated Certification of Trust.
  4. Place any funds/income received after date of death (i.e. life insurance death benefits, annuities, other income) into a secure, an interest-bearing account,  until distribution of the funds to the beneficiaries.
  5. Secure and inventory all property such as real estate and other personal property. Make sure to turn off non-necessary utilities and continue to pay mortgages/insurance/HOA bills associated with real estate.
  6. Locate and pay necessary bills & certain taxes (i.e. property taxes).  Start a ledger of income received and bills paid.
  7. Contact an accountant to prepare the final income and estate tax return (if applicable). 
  8. Bear in mind, you’ll need to prepare a final accounting ledger of all assets, bills paid and income received, to ensure you can provide an accounting to the Trust’s beneficiaries upon distribution of the estate.  Keep records accordingly. 
  9. Distribute property in the order called out in the trust, typically:
  • Property on special lists of specific bequests (see Personal Property Memorandum). 
  • Remaining personal property; (consider holding an estate sale, if necessary).
  • If a child’s trust is involved, transfer that child’s share of cash and/or property to the trustee of the child’s trust (if applicable).
  • Divide the remainder of the cash and property according to the instructions contained in the trust, transferring titles of property as indicated.
    • Make sure to obtain a signed receipt from each beneficiary which acknowledges that they have received the property

Also see Part I of this series and check back for Part III of this series, which covers issues related to legal duties of trustees.

-Tiffany Ballenger Floyd, Esq.,  Phillips Ballenger PLLC


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