Clients, especially those who have been acting as Attorney-in-Fact for a loved one, or those who are named as the Personal Representative/Executor or Trustee in a Will or Trust always want to know what steps they should be taking after a loved one passes away.
Below are a few basic tips to get you started to ensure that all assets are secured and that the probate, estate administration or trust administration process, goes smoothly.
1. Be aware that once an individual passes away, a Power of Attorney is no longer effective. A Personal Representative or Trustee is who will take over management of assets and payment of debts after death.
2. Notify the decedent’s frieds, family member, employer or employees of the death.
3. Look for any specific funeral and burial instructions left by the Decedent. In my estate planning documents, I typically include a “Funeral and Burial Letter” which is located with the Will or Trust.
4. Arrangements should be made for the care of the decedent’s pets, if any.
5. The decedent’s residence should be secured. You can do this by having either a trusted friend stay at the home or by changing the locks.
6. Locate the Decedent’s original Will or original Trust document.
7. Order between 5 and 10 certified copies of the Death Certificate.
8. If the decedent left a will or trust, you should contact an Idaho Probate Attorney to advise you with respect to the appropriate steps to take to probate the decedent’s estate, if necessary and to learn about the appropriate steps for Estate Administration or Trust Administration in Idaho. Failure to do so may result in costly mistakes.
9. If the decedent did not leave a will or trust, but there is property of the Estate (bank accounts, real property, vehicles, etc.) you should also contact an Idaho Probate Attorney to assist you with Intestate administration of the Estate.
10. If the decedent left a Revocable Living Trust, the Trust likely became irrevocable as of the decedent’s date of death. The Trust will need its own Tax ID Number. Your accountant or attorney can assist you with getting this number.
11. If the Decedent was renting the property, the landlord should be notified
12. Notify any utility and phone suppliers of the death.
13. Notify the post office to change the mailing address to the address of the Personal Representative (once appointed) or the Successor Trustee.
14. Keep track of your time in handling administration of the estate or trust. You should also keep all receipts of any out-of-pocket expenses incurred on behalf of the Estate or Trust.
Hiring a competent Idaho Probate Attorney can alleviate a lot of the unnecessary stress that comes with administering a Deceden’t estate or trust.
My philosophy when it comes to Estate or Trust Administration, is that as your Probate Attorney, I will take the burden off of your shoulders, and guide you step-by-step through the process. I’ve found that my clients are relieved to have this burden removed, and that it is helpful especially in situations where family members may not get along or have trust issues with one family member administering the Estate.
Hiring a competent Probate Attorney can also save the Estate or Trust money in many instances. It is always cheaper to prevent a problem, than it is to fix one.
If you need help with an Idaho estate administration or trust administration, or need assistance going through Idaho Probate, I would love to assist you! Contact Mindy Moore at (208) 384-8588 to schedule a consultation with me.