There are several things that must be addressed after a loved one dies. Not all of these will apply to each case, but make sure to address the ones that apply to your situation.
Within 24 Hours:
Within Two Weeks:
Within One Month:
a. Bank accounts owned by your loved one.
b. Mutual funds owned by your loved one.
c. Brokerage accounts owned by your loved one.
d. Certificates of Deposit in your loved one’s name.
e. Stock Certificates registered in your loved one’s name.
f. Any promissory notes under which your loved one was entitled to receive payment.
g. Titles to Motor Vehicles and/or Mobile Homes that are listed in your loved one’s name.
h. Deeds to real property owned by your loved one.
i. Any appraisals of jewelry or other valuable personal property owned by your loved one.
j. Gain access to and inventory any safe deposit box.
3. Obtain the account balance on mortgages, loans, checking and savings accounts as of the date
4. Bring original Will and Trust with other legal and financial documents, balances, death
certificates, and inventory of safe deposit box, to appointment with attorney.
5. Notify CPA, accountant, or bookkeeper of the death.
Within 6 Months:
Within 9 Months:
There are many scams that seek to snare the unwary. Identity theft is an ever-growing concern. The risk of identity theft does not end at death. In fact, stealing the identity of the recently deceased is one of the most common forms of ID Theft. Imagine a surviving spouse’s dismay when she goes to the bank to find out that her dead husband cleared out the bank account… a week after he died. You can minimize the risk of a recently passed loved one from falling prey to an identity thief by alerting those agencies on this list from the National Funeral Directors Association:
The best outcome for the distribution of assets is if the decedent had a trust, and all the assets were in the trust at the time of death. When a person dies leaving a valid trust in place, the transferring of assets can usually be done without involving the courts. This process is called Trust Administration. During this process, there are certain things that need to be sent to individuals and agencies, and things that need to be filed with the appropriate agencies. The person who is in charge of doing this is called the Trustee. The
Trustee is nominated by the trust that the decedent created. The Trustee is also responsible for managing and accounting for all the assets until they are distributed. It is necessary to do this process properly, and lawfully, to carry out the wishes established in the trust and avoid lawsuits. The Trustee may be able to compensate themselves for their time and is almost always authorized to use trust funds to hire professionals, such as attorneys, to assist in the process. The Trustee will not be personally liable for any debts left by the decedent. Our office can assist you in this process to avoid litigation and to ensure the assets are properly transferred to the chosen beneficiaries. Contact us for a free consultation if you would like to know more.
Often, a loved one dies with a valid trust, but not all the assets are in the trust. When this happens, the banks and institutions will ask the family to open a probate to transfer the assets; however, this is completely unnecessary and a giant waste of time and money. Typically, a motion can be filed with the court to show that the assets should be assigned to the trust, rather than going through a probate. This is a difficult motion to prepare and argue, but it is usually granted. If the motion is denied, then you are stuck with going through probate, so make sure to hire someone who has done this before. Contact us for a free consultation if you would like to know more
If none of the above options work to transfer the assets of a deceased loved one, there is one more method that can be tried. This method typically requires filing a special petition with the court, giving the proper notices, and then having a hearing in front of a judge. This method can be more expensive and a bit time consuming than the other methods, but it is significantly quicker and cheaper than a full probate. Additionally, there are circumstances when there does not even need to be court interaction to transfer the assets through this method. Contact us for a free consultation if you would like to know more
The last option is a Probate. Whenever someone dies and none of the above methods work, then the transferring of the deceased individuals’ assets can only be done through a legal proceeding called Probate. During the Probate, the representative of the estate will have to make several appearances and try to convince the judge what is best for the beneficiaries. This can be a very difficult task as there are many critical notices and deadlines that have to be followed, otherwise the time and cost will increase.
Unfortunately, with our court’s budget being so low, and the baby boomer generation starting to go, the courts are backed up and this process typically takes between 6 months and 2 years to complete. Other situations can extend this time to taking multiple years, such as a pandemic or natural disaster. This means that no one can transfer any money or assets, even if you have a buyer ready to go, for months.
Even worse is that a Probate commonly costs the heirs tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars (see below).
Having a Trust is essential to avoid this time consuming and costly legal proceeding; however, if you are left in a position where you know someone who died without a trust, we can make this process much easier on you. By hiring us, it will ensure that the process is as quick as possible, you will avoid having to do many days’ worth of research, will save you many sleepless nights worrying that you are doing everything correctly, and California law even allows us to appear at every hearing on your behalf, so that you do not have to miss work to appear on your own Contact us for a free consultation if you would like to know more.
© Copyright Bauer & Shekerlian Law, APC. All Rights Reserved. This website includes information about legal issues and is for informational purposes only. These informational materials are not intended, and should not be taken as legal advice for any particular set of facts or circumstances. You should contact our attorney directly for advice on specific legal problems. Neither your receipt of information from this website, nor your use of this website to contact our attorney creates an attorney-client relationship with Bauer & Shekerlian Law, APC. In accordance with IRS requirements, this is to inform you that any information on this website that could be construed as U.S. tax advice is not written or intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed on this website. As a convenience, this website may provide links to third-party websites. Such linked websites are not under the control of Bauer & Shekerlian Law, APC, and the Law Office of Phil Shekerlian takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the contents of such websites.