Author Topic: Executor of a will questions  (Read 766 times)

frugaldrummer

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Executor of a will questions
« on: October 06, 2019, 06:55:42 PM »
My mother just died, and my older brother and I are named as co- executors of the will. Her estate is small and the will simple - everything divided evenly between her four children.

Her estate consists of a savings account and checking account - both of which are in both her name and mine. Also two retirement accounts which have all four of us listed as beneficiaries. One paid off car which we all agree will go to our younger brother. Her total estate value is a little over $100k.

There's absolutely NO risk of any family dispute. (Strange but true!)

So my question is - do I still have to file her will with the probate court? Is it even necessary in a situation like this?


2Birds1Stone

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Re: Executor of a will questions
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2019, 07:18:11 PM »
I don't have an answer to your question, but wanted to share my condolences.

If you can't get a definitive answer here, it might be worth speaking with an attorney, just to protect yourself(es).

G-dog

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Re: Executor of a will questions
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2019, 07:19:28 PM »
Sorry for your loss.

Yes - I think you should go through probate.  But the laws vary by location as to all the things that need to be done, and the timeline for doing them. I also advise doing it all as soon as you reasonably can.  You could probably ask someone at the office where you will file all the documents (if you donít want to check with an attorney) - they can give you an idea of the requirements.

The bank accounts with your name on also are probably not part of probate, but anything in only her name will be. Not sure about the insurance / retirement accounts.  If you get an attorney, get one located in your county seat (or wherever the documents need to be filed) - otherwise you pay a lot in travel time (my mom was in a rural area).

You will also likely have to inventory all her possessions in the house, and assign a value.  Many things are low or very little value. Itís a PITA, but is probably part of the process.  Also, her death needs to be advertised at least twice within a set time period in order to give any creditors a chance to make the estate aware of any debts. 

Itís takes a while, but with a simple estate it is not a difficult process.  Since I no longer lived in the area, I happily paid an attorney to makes sure everything was done (including any required tax filings).

Linea_Norway

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Re: Executor of a will questions
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2019, 06:08:18 AM »
My condolences.

Just keep the money in the account until the costs for the funeral are paid for. Also when you are selling the home, there will be some upfront costs (like photographing), which are natural to pay from that account.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Executor of a will questions
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2019, 07:27:16 AM »
No home to sell, she lived in my home with me.
I'm keeping a strict accounting of all expenses, not that any of my siblings would care or have any concerns.
Social security will take her last check back out of the account at some point, and there may be 1 or 2 small checks left to clear. I think she may have accidentally overpaid her credit card last month so I will need to get any excess refunded.

I have to say, the smartest thing my mom did was to put me on her accounts - it's making it really easy to handle funeral expenses and if any heir was in financial need I could distribute part of their inheritance right away. I know this can be dangerous ( have heard horror stories of unscrupulous children draining parents accounts) but in a responsible no drama family like mine it's been a blessing. I'm thinking of putting one of my sons on one of my savings accounts for just that purpose, since my kids wouldn't currently have the means to pay for funeral/ mortgage payments/bills/taxes after my death and I don't know how long it would take for them to receive their shares of my retirement accounts.

G-dog

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Re: Executor of a will questions
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2019, 07:51:20 AM »
Quote
I have to say, the smartest thing my mom did was to put me on her accounts - it's making it really easy to handle funeral expenses

My mom did this too (and put my name on CDs) - it made paying any bills during her last illness and after she died so easy.  Keeping those account out of probate was just a small bonus (this may be a bigger deal in bigger estates).

GizmoTX

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Re: Executor of a will questions
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2019, 08:00:58 AM »
A safer way to allow another person to handle financial affairs is a springing power of attorney that comes into effect when a doctor certifies that a person is unable to handle their own affairs, either temporarily or permanently. A similar document for health decisions should also be in place. Subsequent persons should be named in case the first choice is unable to serve.

Probate can usually be skipped if the estate does not include property that must be retitled.

Catbert

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Re: Executor of a will questions
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2019, 11:06:52 AM »
It sounds like little if any will need to be probated.  Anything joint or with a beneficiary/transfer on death designation won't be probated.

Many (most?) states have a special simplified "probate" for small estates.  For example, iirc in California 20 years ago it was under 100K.  Minor paperwork or maybe none.  Use google to check out your state's rules.

MDM

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Re: Executor of a will questions
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2019, 11:35:34 AM »
Probate can usually be skipped if the estate does not include property that must be retitled.
Agreed. 

frugaldrummer, condolences to you and your family.  If you can wrap up everything so no estate tax return (as opposed to filing her return as deceased) is needed, and nobody questions the division of her assets, life goes on without the need to pay probate costs.  Of course, IANAL.

BeanCounter

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Re: Executor of a will questions
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2019, 11:51:34 AM »
I'm sorry about your mom. I just went through this when my mom passed. It's pretty simple. Probate can be skipped if-
- all property (of any type) is already marked TOD or POD to a beneficiary. This can even include property or a vehicle.
-And no one disputes those or the actions of the executer (otherwise the court has to be involved)

It has nothing to do with estate size or type of property involved. In my case I'm an only child, the estate was just over $1M but everything, and I mean everything (car, house, bank accounts, taxable investment accounts, retirement accounts, insurance etc) was TOD to me. I completed everything without probate. One thing that is important to note, if there are significant investment accounts, you MUST transfer them over ASAP because technically the tax law says that if these accounts earn greater than $600 of gains after death in the deceased person's name, you need to have the ESTATE file a return. Which means you have to go to probate to open an estate. If you transfer them immediately the assets step up in value and any gains earned after the transfer are now yours.
Keep the bank account open as long as you can because various checks will come in, things like refunds on medical or utility bills. It's helpful to just let those come in with her name on it and deposit them because it's very difficult to get them to pay out to your name. They'll make the checks out to an estate, but it would be stupid to open an estate for $100 medical bill refund.

BeanCounter

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Re: Executor of a will questions
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2019, 12:04:17 PM »
My mother just died, and my older brother and I are named as co- executors of the will. Her estate is small and the will simple - everything divided evenly between her four children.

Her estate consists of a savings account and checking account - both of which are in both her name and mine. Also two retirement accounts which have all four of us listed as beneficiaries. One paid off car which we all agree will go to our younger brother. Her total estate value is a little over $100k.

There's absolutely NO risk of any family dispute. (Strange but true!)

So my question is - do I still have to file her will with the probate court? Is it even necessary in a situation like this?
Sorry, reread your details. If the car is not titled as TOD, you will unfortunately have to go to probate so you can have it retitled. I'm sorry. That stinks to have to do that.

secondcor521

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Re: Executor of a will questions
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2019, 12:33:19 PM »
Sorry, reread your details. If the car is not titled as TOD, you will unfortunately have to go to probate so you can have it retitled. I'm sorry. That stinks to have to do that.

In my state, OP could file an affidavit even if the Mom's estate remained unprobated.  (https://itd.idaho.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/3892.pdf - answer to top left question)

OP, the rules for inheritance vary state by state.  Please check your local laws and rules before taking anything on this thread as accurate.

(Some of what is written I agree with and think is correct, some I think is wrong.  The stuff I think is wrong could be that it works differently in other states than in mine.)