Author Topic: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband  (Read 8079 times)

Piper

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Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« on: August 30, 2017, 08:38:15 AM »
Hello!

Unfortunately I need help with an issue I never thought Iíd have to deal with this early in my life (38). Iím not sure how much information to share initially so I am sharing it all ☺ I figure if anyone sees something in the info they want to comment on, please do! Thanks to anyone who reads and provides a response!

My husband and I started following MMM and the forum a handful of years ago. We pretty much fell in love with the whole idea, read the posts and forum religiously, and talked and planned obsessively. It was fun and exciting! We even got a little smug about retiring early. ☺ Anyway, a good distractor from work some days, thatís for sure.

We had our son a little over a year ago and were planning on retiring in a few years (around 40/45).  Unfortunately tragedy struck earlier this year. All three of us were in a terrible accident, which took my husband. I am now not only heart-broken but a single, disabled parent. Thankfully our son had minor injuries and is perfectly fine. Iím also hopeful my disability will not be a forever thing. It will for sure be a long-term recovery.

I am extremely grateful for had knowing my brilliant husband, having a cool little 1-year-old, and being surrounded by a network of amazing people.  Iím also grateful we took saving seriously and have money in investments.

Iíd really appreciate help navigating my options regarding the estate Ė in particular how to transfer accounts solely in his name to my accounts.

I will list an overview of my information first, followed by a list of the accounts requiring a decision. Let me know if you need anything else.

- I am the sole executor of the estate. The only marriage he had was ours, his only child our son.
- Our combined investments run roughly a million.
- ~$315,000 in my bank account.
- I expect to receive $100,000 for me, and $100,000 for my son from insurance. The latter will be placed in an account to pay for his college. (Any advice on what kind of account? 529?)
- Iíve already collected life insurance, which is included in the bank account total above.
- I receive monthly Social Security checks ($1,300) from my husbandís SS account since Iím our sonís caregiver (until he's 18).
- My salary is $77k. I currently max out retirement accounts. My monthly net paycheck is $2,500.
- I just bought a house in town for $275k, changing my commute time from 25 min to 5-10 min (yay!). I will be placing my current home, which should have roughly $122k in equity, on the market soon. I am putting $125k down on the new house and taking out a conventional 15-yr loan (at 3.25%) for the remaining $150k. I will ďpay myself backĒ once I sell the old home. Monthly mortgage at the new home is $1,300.
- Iím interested in the Roth conversion ladder but have to wait to start that until I quit my current job (to roll my 403b into a Traditional IRA).
-  I enjoy working at the moment and donít want to quit. Perhaps in another 5 years. Because of my injuries, Iím only working on average 15 hours per week for now. I'll be running out of leave soon so will have to take a cut in pay based on the number of hours worked.
-Daycare is $800/mo.
- I am strongly considering hiring an accountant to make sure my final decisions are sound. (Advice?)

Iíd really like general advice on how to move the money and what to do with it. One question is whether to ASSUME or INHERIT. And, of course, I want to minimize tax implications.

Hereís info regarding my husbandís accounts requiring a decision:

-$125k in a 401/403b
-$5k in a taxable account
-$137k in a Roth account
-$63k in a 457b
-$19k in a 403b (Iím listed as the beneficiary)

Note: Itís possible Iím listed as beneficiary on more than the one noted below but I donít know yet.

Thereís also ~30k in Lending Club. $10k taxable / $10k Roth / $10k Traditional. So far, Iíve established my own accounts at Lending Club (taxable, Roth and traditional) to transfer the money to but can only collect the money as the notes are satisfied. Iím not interested in continuing with Lending Club simply because I donít have the time right now (I'm not sure how to get out, actually).

Any input is appreciated! Even regarding disability and single-parent options or advice.

Thank you so much!

CheapskateWife

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2017, 08:49:14 AM »
I can't imagine what you must be feeling, but it sounds like financially you are in an incredible place. 

It might be prudent to hire a tax attorney to help you navigate all this..I would start with calling up the fund companies to get their feedback on tax-advantaged ways to manage all this.  Get your advice, and come back here to post to the forum to bounce it off of others who might have learned these lessons for you.  If you don't have a good feeling about the guidance, then you have yourself a fiduciary advisor to help (tax attorney).

Posting to follow and offer love, and support. 

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2017, 08:55:55 AM »
I can't imagine going through this, and there's really no way to convey the sympathy I have for you.

Regarding the money stuff:

You might want an estate attorney to help you through this, but very (very) generally speaking, a surviving spouse doesn't inherit, since they already owned the assets (jointly) to begin with. State laws differ, and this is where an attorney can help you navigate.

Short term, I might consider taking a lot of the cash held in checking and transferring it to the taxable investment account. You could even hold a portion of it in cash over there if you think you might need to access the funds, but getting that money invested sooner rather than later is probably a good idea. I don't know who you're with, but I know Fidelity lets you use taxable investment accounts effectively like a checking account, complete with debit card and checks. They also distribute cash holdings across FDIC-insured accounts, giving you more than the $200k you get at a single institution.

What do your ongoing medical costs look like, and how will cutting hours affect benefits eligibility?

rubybeth

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2017, 09:01:07 AM »
Not a lot of advice, but I wanted to offer my condolences. An attorney may be able to help you sort out any disability stuff, too. Best wishes for you and your child. <3

Sibley

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2017, 09:08:13 AM »
I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope that your recovery is faster than anticipated.

First, slow down. Try not to make big decisions for a year. You need time to process, recover, grieve, and everything else. When you do have to make decisions, getting impartial advice (like here!) is a good idea.

Re Lending club - open accounts elsewhere (Vanguard, etc), and as money frees up at Lending Club, transfer it to the new account. You probably could liquidate, but if you're ok with the runout, just transfer at that time. You may also be able to talk to the new bank (loose term) and they can advise you, I suspect Lending Club might be biased. :)

If you're listed as beneficiary on your husbands accounts, you should be able to contact the institution and they can work with you to transfer the money to your name.

There have been threads discussing 529s and other education savings options, search some of those out and read. Do some research. As I understand it, there are pros and cons for each depending on your situation. However, it won't hurt to have this money sitting in savings for a few months while you sort it out. (big decisions, remember? take it slow)

Also be wary of scams. There are people out there who will try to take advantage of you. You're a recent widow, you're injured - and you're vulnerable. It's ok, you won't stay that way forever, but it's good to recognize your temporary weakness.

An accountant/lawyer/other professional to help you navigate all this might be worthwhile, depending on your overall knowledge base and time. I don't have a ton of knowledge in this area, so would be more inclined to get help. Someone else might be more willing to tackle it on their own. Given your injuries and caring for a young child, that might be enough to push you towards professional assistance.

Glenstache

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2017, 11:05:37 AM »
So sorry to hear about this, and want to offer condolences. Truly.

I will just say that this may be a good time to hire someone with professional knowledge. If you do go that route, only hire someone who has a legal fiduciary responsibility to work for you. If you are in Washington state I can put you in touch with someone local that I would trust. 

Best wishes for navigating a tough time.

Bicycle_B

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2017, 11:27:11 AM »
+1 to take it slow.  So sorry to hear of your loss.  So glad that, while recovery is difficult, your other circumstances are so good. 

Re professionals - giving only a personal thought here, not professional advice:

For tax and inheritance issues, there are lawyers and accountants who specialize in these areas, or at least have specialized knowledge of these areas; not all accountants or lawyers have this knowledge in practice.  Research your providers carefully. 

It is possible that you can find a CPA who, though they will not give legal advice, does know the relevant law. In that case, perhaps you could limit the legal consultation to confirming that the accountant's plan is legally sound.

Note that there is a difference between tax advice that a CPA competent in tax can provide, and investment advice that technically is the province of fidiciary investment advisor such as (I think) a fee-based Certified Financial Planner.  You might find a CPA who is also a CFP and do one main consultation with him/her, or consult two advisors separately.

I agree that professionals for tax and inheritance are probably worthwhile at this point.  Probably a one time consult to establish/verify the overall investing strategy for your child's raising and your life as currentlly plannable may be wise too.  Don't put an investment advisor on retainer though!  A couple thousand dollars now is fine, but ongoing fees not needed.  Again, not a professional opinion here.

Take care and move slow.  Your emotions are important and will stablize.  Your finances are clearly at no risk from slow movement, no reason to add risk by moving too fast. 


GreenSheep

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2017, 11:42:06 AM »
I'm so sorry, Piper. I'm your age, and I can only imagine. I agree with those who have recommended professional advice. You have the money, and I think it would be worth spending it on someone who can sort this out for you. Not only would that ensure it's all done well, it would also prevent you from having to spend your time and energy on it during such a difficult time. Hugs to you and your son.

Piper

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2017, 03:03:14 PM »
Wow, I appreciate your quick and helpful responses! Especially the condolences. My current reality is hard for me to grasp sometimes.

Got it - I will begin looking for a fiduciary advisor (perhaps a CFP) who has a legal fiduciary responsibility to me. Earlier today, I made an appointment with the CPA who filed my tax extension for 2016. I'll see what her advice is as well, especially regarding tax implications.

I didn't know Fidelity offered that kind of service. Thank you, NoStacheOhio. Every time I think I'm done paying medical bills, another one arrives in the mail. I have fantastic health insurance through my employer, which (now that you mention it) reminds me that keeping my job for now provides the stability I need at the time. I've had meetings with HR and my supervisor. They're eager to keep me. I've been a hard worker and recognized for some of the projects I've done. They've also given me good information so I can keep my health insurance as long as I don't miss 14 days in a row of work.

I will be mindful to take things slow and be on the lookout for scams, good reminder. I appreciate that, Sibley.

I'm definitely seeing now that it's worth the money (as a one-time consult) to hire someone to get things in order. Especially to protect my son's future.

Funny, just hearing from a few of you so quickly has me giving a sigh of relief. I'll be good once I have a solid plan. My husband took care of the investment side, although we talked about it often so I know quite a bit. I took care of tracking our spending. We were really in sync with our finances. Time for me to take over and learn a few things. :)




Dee18

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2017, 03:34:58 PM »
My condolences to you.

You might not want to put all of your son's $100,000 into a college fund.  With the years it has to grow, putting half of it in will probably be enough.  You could use the other money in the interim, for other special things for your son, or invest it in another account for him to receive when he finishes college. 

justchristine

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2017, 03:59:51 PM »
My condolences.  I can't offer much advise other than it is possible to sell Lending Club notes on the secondary market.  I did it a couple years ago without too much hassles.  I didn't have a lot invested and took a small loss on some of the notes but it was worth it IMHO.

This might help:. https://www.lendingclub.com/public/mainAboutTrading.action

secondcor521

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2017, 04:31:47 PM »
First and foremost, my condolences to you on the loss of your husband (sounds like a great guy) and best wishes to you for a maximum recovery of your health and abilities.

Second, overall you are doing really well for your age.  Congratulations.

To your questions:

1.  If the $100K for your son is his money (i.e., he was the beneficiary - sounds like it is), then you have to treat it as his.  Since he is a minor, you can be the custodian, but that just means you look after the money for him.  If it's your money and you want to earmark it for him and his college, that is a good decision too.  Just keep the distinction in mind.
2.  Where to put that $100K for your son depends on whether you'll get financial aid or not.  My guess is you won't unless your situation changes greatly.  With no prospect of financial aid, either a 529 or a UTMA are good choices.  Often there are state tax benefits for putting money into a 529, sometimes with annual limits (my state is $6K per kid per year).  You can google 529 plus your state name and learn more.
3.  You will need to wait to make your Roth conversions until you move your retirement into an IRA, but before that you can also be saving up your 5 years of expenses to cover the first five years of the Roth pipeline.  Your $315K in checking may already cover that.
4.  Your son should also be receiving a Social Security survivor benefit from now until age 16 IIRC.  Not sure if you're including that in the $1300 check you mention, but double check that with Social Security to make sure you're not missing out.  Survivor benefits are nice and one of the underappreciated aspects of the SSA.
5.  To your main question, I would suggest this pamphlet by Schwab that I googled, it seems to be very easy to understand and contains the basics for you to get started:  https://www.schwab.com/public/file/P-1625576
6.  For the Lending Club notes, I would talk to LC and make sure that your husband's accounts are not set to automatically reinvest in new notes.  Then wait for all the notes to be paid off, then move the money per the Schwab link in the previous item.
7.  Finally, later on, you can quite probably combine all of the traditional IRAs into a single traditional IRA.  This will make your life simpler.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2017, 04:34:37 PM by secondcor521 »

crimwell

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2017, 06:10:06 PM »
No advice to add beyond good advice others already posted, but I'm so sorry for your loss.

Dicey

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2017, 11:58:55 PM »
Again, so very sorry for your loss. There's a lesson for us all to get our shit together, 'cause life as you know it can change in an instant. I'm glad you and your husband were in sync in financial issues.

You sound really strong, but I hope you will give yourself the option of professional help as you learn to adjust to your new life. There's never any shame in seeking therapy; only good can come of it. Support groups can also be very beneficial.

Here's to a complete recovery from your injuries +《♡Hugs♡》

MoseyingAlong

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2017, 12:19:44 AM »
Hi, Piper,

My condolences. 2 thoughts.

First, for you personally. As others have mentioned, try not to make any big decisions for at least 6 months, probably more like a year. That period allows people to get thru the first waves of grief and come to grips with their new reality. And you have definitely had the ground shift.  Being a new widow can be hard. Being a single parent can be hard. Being disabled can be hard. To have them all happen at once is way hard. Please take care of yourself as well as your son. (That year buffer also provides a nice excuse to pushy salespeople or advisers who sometimes appear. If you tell them that you are not doing anything for a year, they may forget about you by the time a year is up.)

Second, for you as the executor of his estate. You do have some legal obligations here. I recommend contacting all the companies with his retirement accounts, notifying them of his death and having a copy of his death certificate to send each one. Then you can ask them if there are beneficiaries named and who they are. If they are you, fantastic, it's usually straightforward to roll them to you. If they are someone else, they will need to be notified. If he didn't name beneficiaries, it'll be more complicated and probably pass per state law. Either way, don't wait too long for this. It's good to have the information for your planning and to avoid any issues if someone else is named as a beneficiary.

Again, my condolences.

Villanelle

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2017, 02:57:40 AM »
I'm so sorry for your loss and for your injuries.

I just want to second the comments about the $100k for your son.  First, this is not at all urgent. It is probably the least urgent thing on the list because sitting around for a handful of months isn't going to have a significant effect as long as it is in an FDIC account or some other safe place.   Second, it is a lot of money to be tied up in an education-specific account, so think very carefully before doing that with all of the money, when the time to make a decision has come.   I wouldn't even think too much about it now.  In 6 months or more, you can figure out what you want to do with it, but I would recommend keeping much of it in a non-education account.  A regular savings or investment account can be used to pay for college if the portion in an education account isn't quite enough, but a college account probably can't be used for purchasing a first car or a downpayment on a house. Nor could it be used for an expensive sport your son wants to take up that you can't quite swing with your limited income, or an extra trip for your son to visit his grandparents (for example), or some other future possibility.   

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2017, 06:05:10 AM »
Wow, I appreciate your quick and helpful responses! Especially the condolences. My current reality is hard for me to grasp sometimes.

Got it - I will begin looking for a fiduciary advisor (perhaps a CFP) who has a legal fiduciary responsibility to me. Earlier today, I made an appointment with the CPA who filed my tax extension for 2016. I'll see what her advice is as well, especially regarding tax implications.

That's a really good first step, and your tax accountant will almost certainly know someone qualified to help you. Depending on how they're set up, they may even have a partner at the same firm who handles those kinds of things.

CheapskateWife

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #17 on: August 31, 2017, 07:24:42 AM »
I would seriously relook the 529 issue and lean more towards a conservative amount in that account.  For instance...I'd consider looking at your current state public university's tuition, math that out for 5 years and put that amount in a 529...let it grow tax free.  There are a surprising number of expenses that are not considered eligible expenses under a 529, and you may end up with funds that "feel" restrictive.  Your child might not use it the way you think (like not going to college at all) and it may be better to have the funds in a more flexible account.  Just my $.02, going through this right now with a child who is going military instead of college.

Laura33

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2017, 07:40:14 AM »
First, let me add my condolences to everyone else's.  I can't imagine what you are going through.

The only thing I would add to the advice above is: you really, really need an estate lawyer.  What you can and cannot do with each account is going to be based on your state law and how the account is held, and there is no one here who can advise you accurately on all of those details.  For example, any 401(k) account will automatically go to the listed beneficiary; you can probably contact the provider directly and then send them a copy of the death certificate, and they will transfer it to your name.  OTOH, bank accounts are generally limited to whomever is on the account; if you held it jointly, it will likely immediately become yours; if it was solely in his name, you probably need to inherit it to transfer it to your name (but this may also depend on whether you live in a community property state, I don't know).  You also want to make 100% sure that you file all of the necessary papers and send all of the notices to creditors so you don't have anyone coming after you after everything is wrapped up saying that you owe them money based on something your husband did.

There are also going to be tax implications on all of these things; my mom has managed all of that between her estate lawyer and the person who does her taxes, but you could also consider a separate CPA if the people you are currently talking to aren't sufficiently well-versed in those issues.

I would honestly put the CFP later in the process, unless you need it for your own mental health.  As many others have said, you do not need to make any big decisions about what to do with this money right now, and in fact you really, really shouldn't.  You have survivors' benefits and a job to cover your immediate expenses, and you have significant cash in the bank if there is any temporary shortfall, so you really truly do not need to figure out the "perfect" asset allocation or investment vehicles right now.  Deal with your own injuries and psyche, deal with your son, focus on getting healthy and getting back to work, and use whatever energy you have leftover to manage the estate (because you will have a limited tolerance for administrivia, and settling the estate will take a *lot* of it, at least initially).  Your job right now is to make the logistics of your life as easy as possible, not add more stress by trying to get everything perfect all at once.

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2017, 12:11:31 PM »
You are getting good solid advice from those above but I too wanted to send my condolences. Allow yourself mentally to heal at the pace you need and as others said take your time and get the right instruction from trustworthy people. I hope your personal physical injuries heal swiftly.

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2017, 12:48:39 PM »
So sorry for your loss

One thing i noticed was your survivor benefits at 1300. 

Do you not get double survivor benefits.  When i look up my survivor benefits it says my child would get 1900 and my spouse carrying for my child would get 1900 a month do you not get 2600 vs the 1300 you said above?

Catbert

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #21 on: September 01, 2017, 11:32:20 AM »
So sorry for your loss

One thing i noticed was your survivor benefits at 1300. 

Do you not get double survivor benefits.  When i look up my survivor benefits it says my child would get 1900 and my spouse carrying for my child would get 1900 a month do you not get 2600 vs the 1300 you said above?

I'm not a SS expert, but I do know a bit.  As you say, there are actually 2 survivors here (OP and child).  However, if OP is making more than ~15K a year her benefit is being offset for each dollar over ~15K (not sure of current amount).  Since she's making 70K then she's not entitled to SS survivor benefit.  I'm guessing that the survivor benefit she's getting is really for her son which should last until 18.

Catbert

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #22 on: September 01, 2017, 11:49:51 AM »
 So sorry for your loss.  I was widowed a bit older than you although after an illness so not quite a shock.  As others have said don't be in a huge rush to change things in your life.

Most of the accounts listed are retirement accounts and the system usually forces you to designate a beneficiary.  I hope that's you (rather than your child or the dreaded "estate of...").   If so, it'll be easy to get transferred to you.  I'll assume the brokerage account is either joint or would have you listed a beneficiary also.

But then there is Lending Club.  That's the kind of account that people forget to designate a beneficiary - especially if they are young and healthy.  So now I'm going to provide a little illegal advice.  Assuming you have his login, password etc, go in as him and check to see how it is set up.  Either cash it out or set it up to pay out as loans are completed rather than reinvested.

When my DH (and for that matter my Father) died the estate attorneys suggested that I got out and convert as many accounts/property to beneficiaries and only come back for for those requiring more intervention.     

MarciaB

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #23 on: September 01, 2017, 04:04:29 PM »
So sorry for your loss.  I was widowed a bit older than you although after an illness so not quite a shock.  As others have said don't be in a huge rush to change things in your life.

I second this (and like Catbert was widowed a bit older than you by an illness). What I know from this distance about what I was going through then, is that I was really underwater and not thinking clearly. I thought that I was, but in hindsight I really wasn't. So move slowly, delay decisions until you absolutely have to make them, get some help...but most of all rest and allow yourself plenty of downtime.

calimom

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #24 on: September 01, 2017, 09:28:42 PM »
Hello, Piper. Adding my support and condolences to the chorus of kind words you've received. I was widowed just over 10 years ago with 3 kids, the youngest was the same age as your little one. My husband was also killed in a car accident (a drunk driver ran a red light); he was alone in the car, on his way home from work. I can't imagine going through grief and recovering from the injuries you sustained.

As others said, just take the time to heal and take care of your baby. The other stuff  will be there when you're ready for it. Talk therapy can help, a lot. It's ok to let your money sit in an interest bearing account till you feel like dealing with it. A couple of things to do now, or soon, if you've not already done them: make sure your husband's name is off all banking info, even if it's hard to do so. If there are phone or gym auto-pays, unwind them, which will likely take the death certificate. Meet with your lawyer to update your will, re-designating a guardian as well as a financial guardian, which should not be the same party, but people you implicitly trust.

You appear to be in good shape financially, which is not always the case with younger widows. It's good you were financially responsible, with good assets and insurance. We were pre MMM, but had no debt and enough savings for me to buy a house. Not everyone is so fortunate (not lucky; no widow is truly lucky yes)

Some non financial/administrative advice I can share, which was given to me by an acquaintance who lost her father at a very young age: "When my mom was OK, I was OK". And you sound as OK as you can be given this very difficult situation life has handed to you. I have a couple more resources I can share if you'd like to PM me.

Sending you and your sweet baby lots of support. You're going to be all right.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #25 on: September 02, 2017, 10:37:16 AM »
First, let me add my condolences to everyone else's.  I can't imagine what you are going through.

The only thing I would add to the advice above is: you really, really need an estate lawyer.  What you can and cannot do with each account is going to be based on your state law and how the account is held, and there is no one here who can advise you accurately on all of those details.  For example, any 401(k) account will automatically go to the listed beneficiary; you can probably contact the provider directly and then send them a copy of the death certificate, and they will transfer it to your name.  OTOH, bank accounts are generally limited to whomever is on the account; if you held it jointly, it will likely immediately become yours; if it was solely in his name, you probably need to inherit it to transfer it to your name (but this may also depend on whether you live in a community property state, I don't know).  You also want to make 100% sure that you file all of the necessary papers and send all of the notices to creditors so you don't have anyone coming after you after everything is wrapped up saying that you owe them money based on something your husband did.

There are also going to be tax implications on all of these things; my mom has managed all of that between her estate lawyer and the person who does her taxes, but you could also consider a separate CPA if the people you are currently talking to aren't sufficiently well-versed in those issues.

I would honestly put the CFP later in the process, unless you need it for your own mental health.  As many others have said, you do not need to make any big decisions about what to do with this money right now, and in fact you really, really shouldn't.  You have survivors' benefits and a job to cover your immediate expenses, and you have significant cash in the bank if there is any temporary shortfall, so you really truly do not need to figure out the "perfect" asset allocation or investment vehicles right now.  Deal with your own injuries and psyche, deal with your son, focus on getting healthy and getting back to work, and use whatever energy you have leftover to manage the estate (because you will have a limited tolerance for administrivia, and settling the estate will take a *lot* of it, at least initially).  Your job right now is to make the logistics of your life as easy as possible, not add more stress by trying to get everything perfect all at once.

+1.  THIS.  [Should have known Laura33 was the author...]

First, you have my condolences.  I am terribly sorry!  I can hardly even imagine being in that situation. 

Second, you want an estate attorney.  There are great ones, even though there are a few bad apples.  But that's what you want first.

Tip: only hire an attorney recommended by an attorney who you trust already. 

Third, you want a CPA for the tax issues.  The estate attorney may know some of it, but the CPA will (1) know taxes better, and will know the tax implications of all of it - even the non-legal things -  and (2) be cheaper anyway. 

Finally, I would avoid a CFP/financial adviser altogether, especially now.  That can be done later if you wish.  For now, they may see you as a rich target for lots of fees and want to sell you all kinds of instruments and items that you don't need (from insurance to annuities). 

But the key is: you need a good estate attorney, and you probably don't even much time or tons of advice - just enough to be sure you're doing things right. 

Piper

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2017, 07:05:02 PM »
Hi everyone.

Cool, I am convinced step one is to find an estate lawyer. There is a lawyer associated with filing the estate so I may contact him as well. My estate filing is due October so I'm feeling a big crunched for time. However, I'm not sure how exact everything needs to be, how far along I need to be in the process, etc.

I've at least contacted every company through which my husband had accounts. The ones I know of anyway. So the conversations have been started.

Thank you for the article, Secondcor521. The reason I'm considering inheriting (as opposed to assuming) is because I might want access to that money in 5 years. With inheriting I can do that without penalty (still with tax however).

Bottom line is I'll have a lot more info once I meet with the estate lawyer and can develop a more precise strategy later on, after the dust has settled. And if I make a bit of an investment mistake along the way, that will be just fine. One step at a time and keep things slow and intentional.

As for my son's money....I'm glad you mentioned that Secondcor521. It is my son's money. I need to simply remain the custodian and not make any big decisions with it.

And on life goes. I close on the new house at the end of this week and will be listing the current home. I'm excited for each of these! Bummer my car just died so I'lll be in the market for one of those as well. Two steps forward...!

I will definitely be arranging therapy for myself. I was seeing someone for therapy right after the accident. I need to reestablish that.

Calimom and Catbert - wow, I'm sorry you went through what you did. There are a lot of strong widows and widowers out there! Especially when young children are involved.

I really appreciate all of the sound advice! I'm glad I reached out.

rockeTree

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Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #27 on: September 06, 2017, 06:05:12 AM »
First deepest condolences to Piper. From my experience of grief, go slow, don't worry about getting everything sorted out at once. Chip away at it and eventually it will be done.

Second, why do you say this?


Most of the accounts listed are retirement accounts and the system usually forces you to designate a beneficiary.  I hope that's you (rather than your child or the dreaded "estate of...")...

That dreaded language is what TSP folks advised me to use for the residual trust for my kid since it doesn't exist or have a tax ID unless and until my spouse and I are both dead. Should I have concerns about it?

I'm a red panda

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #28 on: September 06, 2017, 06:47:15 AM »
First deepest condolences to Piper. From my experience of grief, go slow, don't worry about getting everything sorted out at once. Chip away at it and eventually it will be done.

Second, why do you say this?


Most of the accounts listed are retirement accounts and the system usually forces you to designate a beneficiary.  I hope that's you (rather than your child or the dreaded "estate of...")...

That dreaded language is what TSP folks advised me to use for the residual trust for my kid since it doesn't exist or have a tax ID unless and until my spouse and I are both dead. Should I have concerns about it?

First- Piper, I am so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what this must be like for you.
I'm sorry I don't have any useful advice.

Estate planning wise, I have the question above. In writing our will, my lawyer urged us NOT to list our daughter as beneficiary to any of our accounts because a minor cannot inherit property, and thus the state would hold it in trust. By listing our estate instead, we were told, it would be held in the trust we designated (and thus controlled by our designees, not the state).  Should we be concerned how this was advised?  Our will also designates my husband and I as each others main beneficiary, so we've just had all accounts (that are not joint anyway) go to the estate.

Catbert

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #29 on: September 06, 2017, 10:32:07 AM »
First deepest condolences to Piper. From my experience of grief, go slow, don't worry about getting everything sorted out at once. Chip away at it and eventually it will be done.

Second, why do you say this?


Most of the accounts listed are retirement accounts and the system usually forces you to designate a beneficiary.  I hope that's you (rather than your child or the dreaded "estate of...")...

That dreaded language is what TSP folks advised me to use for the residual trust for my kid since it doesn't exist or have a tax ID unless and until my spouse and I are both dead. Should I have concerns about it?

First- Piper, I am so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what this must be like for you.
I'm sorry I don't have any useful advice.

Estate planning wise, I have the question above. In writing our will, my lawyer urged us NOT to list our daughter as beneficiary to any of our accounts because a minor cannot inherit property, and thus the state would hold it in trust. By listing our estate instead, we were told, it would be held in the trust we designated (and thus controlled by our designees, not the state).  Should we be concerned how this was advised?  Our will also designates my husband and I as each others main beneficiary, so we've just had all accounts (that are not joint anyway) go to the estate.

I'm not an attorney so check out anything said by a random person on the internet no matter how sincere. 
For OP I meant that I hoped it wasn't the child listed as beneficiary just b/c it adds another layer of unnecessary complexity since as noted above, minors can't directly inherit property (or more precisely, I think they can inherit but not spend).  Trusts and administrators would be involved.  In her case getting the money directly is cleaner.

With regard to "estate of..." on retirement accounts as I understand it, people have the option keeping the IRA/401k/TSP/etc in retirement accounts subject to MRD rules.  However, "estates" aren't people and might be required to withdraw from retirement accounts (and pay taxes) immediately during probate.  As least that's what the attorney at my work told HR.  This might vary state to state or the attorneys might have been overly cautious.  Definitely worth checking out if you're considering making that beneficiary on retirement accounts.  For non-retirement accounts it might make it harder to get to the money immediately where a beneficiary just needs a death certificate.

rubybeth

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #30 on: September 06, 2017, 01:07:58 PM »
I thought of another thing, one of the people I follow on Instagram is a widow and started the Hot Young Widows Club--it's private and confidential, and offers support for widows and widowers: http://www.hotyoungwidowsclub.com/

Laura33

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #31 on: September 06, 2017, 01:22:16 PM »
I believe the issue with designating your estate as the beneficiary is that it means those assets go through probate.  If the designated beneficiary is a person, it just goes right to that person without passing through your estate.  So if you want simplicity, designate a person directly.  OTOH, as mentioned above, children cannot inherit directly -- so if you designate a child, then you have to go through the court system anyway to get that appropriately set up and supervised.

Our attorney had us designate each other as primary beneficiaries, with our estate as the secondary beneficiary, specifically so we could address the "minor child" issue if we both died.  And our will then set up the trust and established the guardians, etc., so that we could be confident the money would be appropriately managed by people we trust.

Piper

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #32 on: September 07, 2017, 07:11:22 AM »
Thank you for the link rubybeth! I'm looking forward to joining that group. It's not easy to find widow discussions related to my age group.

GreenSheep

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #33 on: September 07, 2017, 11:58:05 AM »
Here's one more link for you. I don't know anything about it, but a coworker was widowed in her mid-30s, and she found this site very helpful: http://www.onefitwidow.com/

calimom

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #34 on: September 07, 2017, 02:21:40 PM »
A couple of book selections: Confessions of a Mediocre Widow by Catherine Tidd. She also has a website, not sure how active it is these days, thewiddahood.com  Reality-based humor and coping from a young widowed mom.

Gold standard is considered to be I'm Grieving as Fast as I Canby Linda Feinberg. Lots of empathy and practical advice.

Piper

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #35 on: September 08, 2017, 07:25:45 AM »
I will be checking those out. You guys are great. I'm glad I came here for support.

Acastus

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Re: Estate navigation following death of Mustachian husband
« Reply #36 on: September 08, 2017, 11:12:27 AM »
Nolo publishes a great how to book for executors:

https://store.nolo.com/products/the-executors-guide-exec.html

It steps through everything a subject one at a time and offers strategies for when you want to hire expert help or do some things yourself. You have completed a few of the steps.  I bought this book to help my Mom through my Dad's estate, and it is also a good reference for setting up your own estate for simpler transfer when the time comes.

I agree with Laura, every state has different rules. Some are wildly different. You need specific advice for your state. There is no deadline for completing the inheritance. You can take as long as you want. The only urgency, and it seems small in your case, is how quickly you need the money.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 11:26:12 AM by Acastus »