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Executor/Trustee Document List?
Old 11-22-2020, 10:12 AM   #1
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Executor/Trustee Document List?

We're finalizing our updated trust, and I want to put everything in one place so our trustee won't have to search for anything. I've searched online, but have we missed anything?
  • Attorney Name & Contact Info
  • Trust Doc
  • Will/Pour Over Will
  • POA Finance
  • Health Care POA
  • HIPAA Medical Authorizations
  • Living Wills (Final Wishes - Advanced Directive)
  • Personal Property Memorandum
  • Memorial Instructions
  • Letter of Explanation
  • List of financial accounts and beneficiaries
    • Brokerage/IRAs
    • Online Savings
    • Bank
    • Credit Cards
    • $ Stash
  • Car Titles, Marriage Cert, Soc Sec cards, Birth Certificates, Voter IDs, Passports
  • Auto & Home Insurance
  • Medicare Cards
  • Real Estate Records
  • Tax Returns
  • Login Info/Passwords
  • Digital Estate Plan (closing online accounts)
I plan to update docs where applicable annually thanks to a reminder (what did we do before reminders?). And we've already instructed trustees how to get keys and where the docs will be.
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Old 11-22-2020, 10:35 AM   #2
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You have two categories of documents there: (1) Docs that will be needed by your executor in order to settle your estate and (2) Docs that will be needed before your death(s) or immediately afterward.

The latter really need to be in someone's possession prior to your passing. Health care powers, durable POA, Funeral instructions, etc. Your regular clinic should probably have a copy of the health care powers. Ours required separate HIPAA release documents so that I can have access to DW's medical information and vice-versa. So those were also scanned into the records.

When you say "trustee" I think you mean "executor," no? And then you say "trust doc," so that is where a trustee pertains -- a testamentary trust?

Hopefully this is not all home-made. IOW that you have had a good trusts & estates attorney involved. Remember too, that your annual update should include changes in wills due to your desires, changes in family circumstances. and to changes in laws. It's not just updating the administrivia.
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Old 11-22-2020, 10:46 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by OldShooter View Post
You have two categories of documents there: (1) Docs that will be needed by your executor in order to settle your estate and (2) Docs that will be needed before your death(s) or immediately afterward.

The latter really need to be in someone's possession prior to your passing. Health care powers, durable POA, Funeral instructions, etc. Your regular clinic should probably have a copy of the health care powers. Ours required separate HIPAA release documents so that I can have access to DW's medical information and vice-versa. So those were also scanned into the records.

When you say "trustee" I think you mean "executor," no? And then you say "trust doc," so that is where a trustee pertains -- a testamentary trust?

Hopefully this is not all home-made. IOW that you have had a good trusts & estates attorney involved. Remember too, that your annual update should include changes in wills due to your desires, changes in family circumstances. and to changes in laws. It's not just updating the administrivia.
Thanks, some good points.

Our doctors have our living wills, but not POAs. Shouldn't be a big issue for the first of us to go (if it works out that way), but it could be for the second.

Successor trustees, executors in the wills. They already know what's where and how to access, so they'll have access immediately after, or before if the last to go isn't accidental? But I get your point.

Not homemade, the first nine docs are being done by a local attorney who only does estate planning. I'm sure we'll revise our trust docs, but it better be less than annually or we haven't planned well.

My Dad shared all the docs and adminstrivia long before he and my Mom passed away, and that helped. OTOH, I am not comfortable sharing all that with my successor trustees...I'll have to think about that.
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Old 11-22-2020, 11:10 AM   #4
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Quote:
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... Our doctors have our living wills, but not POAs. ...
IANAL, but I think that does not do it. In our paperwork, at least, the clinic also also has health care powers that allow each of us to act on the behalf of the other. We also have these with our son, so he can act if we cannot and we can act if he cannot.

Note, too that our clinic had the health care powers and still required that we execute these HIPAA privacy forms giving each of us access to the other's medical information. YMMV on that one.

A durable POA is different yet. These allow the attorney-in-fact (I think that's the lingo.) to act in the grantor's place. The standard form we have allows the granted powers to be limited if, for example, the grantor does not want the POA holder to act in real estate matters. Durable POAs expire on the grantor's death. I think it's the executor who automatically takes over at that point.
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Old 11-22-2020, 11:48 AM   #5
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My Dad left a similar list and it was a tremendous help. Here’s a few things that come to mind:

I had a heck of a time finding his safe deposit box key. I had the duplicate but had to turn both in to close it out. We eventually found it. A note as to where he hid it would have helped.

I also had to track down which credit cards had outstanding rewards points to be credited back to the accounts. A minor thing but a footnote in the list he left as to which accounts had points would have been nice. Not all banks make it automatic and I had to call and specifically ask for them to be paid as a statement credit.

Include a list of which accounts are on automatic debit so the executor can make sure they get cancelled. (I also had to specifically stop autopay from the bank to other payees even after the checking account was closed; they kept sending monthly checks to the garbage company from a nonexistent account. Turned out to be a different department at the bank.)
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Old 11-22-2020, 11:58 AM   #6
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Keys to your house and cars.


Names and phone numbers to neighbors and trusted friends who live nearby that can look out for your place for them.


Name of the realtor you'd recommend to sell your house.
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Old 11-22-2020, 12:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
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My Dad left a similar list and it was a tremendous help. Hereís a few things that come to mind:

I had a heck of a time finding his safe deposit box key. I had the duplicate but had to turn both in to close it out. We eventually found it. A note as to where he hid it would have helped.

I also had to track down which credit cards had outstanding rewards points to be credited back to the accounts. A minor thing but a footnote in the list he left as to which accounts had points would have been nice. Not all banks make it automatic and I had to call and specifically ask for them to be paid as a statement credit.

Include a list of which accounts are on automatic debit so the executor can make sure they get cancelled. (I also had to specifically stop autopay from the bank to other payees even after the checking account was closed; they kept sending monthly checks to the garbage company from a nonexistent account. Turned out to be a different department at the bank.)
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Originally Posted by Stormy Kromer View Post
Keys to your house and cars.


Names and phone numbers to neighbors and trusted friends who live nearby that can look out for your place for them.


Name of the realtor you'd recommend to sell your house.
Good stuff, thank you both plus OldShooter. Hadnít thought of those.
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Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 40% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 25% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
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Old 11-22-2020, 12:54 PM   #8
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Although not specifically part of your list, make sure to leave notes about any family heirlooms, old photos, antiques, etc., you might leave behind. In the “what did you do today?” department I’m going through photos that are well over 100 years old trying to figure out who these people might be. Knowing even little things like which side of the family the pictures came from can be a lot of help.
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Old 11-22-2020, 01:44 PM   #9
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From DW's years in trusts & estates, small items in the house can be problematical because heirs will show up instantly and take what they want. "Mom promised I could have this ... " So a list kept with the will may not be looked at until too late.

She used to recommend to clients that they mark names (masking tape & Sharpie) on the bottoms of items wherever possible and make sure heirs knew that things were marked. If a list is needed, multiple heirs should have a copy so "Mom promised .. " is known to all.
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Old 11-22-2020, 02:01 PM   #10
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If applicable:
life insurance policy
Long term care policy
Health insurance information
Umbrella insurance
Flood insurance

List of friends and family to notify

Titles of cars, trailers, boats.
Deeds
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Old 11-22-2020, 02:53 PM   #11
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Your list triggered two more (at least for me)
1.Where key is located for onsite storage locker
2.Combination of fire safe--has titles, marriage certificates, misc coins, etc
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Old 11-22-2020, 03:33 PM   #12
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Name & number of my doctor, in case it's a medical POA situation. I also included my dentist. I guess that could be useful if for some reason they had to ID my body by dental records.

All house utilities, and any other subscriptions, so they can stop those now or when the house is sold. Of course these can be figured out by looking at the last month of CC and bank acct statements so I don't worry if I missed something.

For passwords, don't forget the computer and phone passwords.

Burial instructions.
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Old 11-22-2020, 05:43 PM   #13
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I'm thinkin I'm going to use your list!
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Old 11-22-2020, 05:50 PM   #14
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Lots of good details I hadn’t thought of that I can easily add. If I update annually, thanks to a reminder, I should have something trustees will find helpful.

I should’ve asked how much everyone shares with their executors/trustees in advance. Our primary and secondary know they’re named, how the estate is distributed and total value, and where “the book” is and how to get it. Not sure what else I need to share other than POAs as suggested above. I haven’t given them house keys, maybe I should.
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Target AA: 40% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 25% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
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Old 11-22-2020, 05:52 PM   #15
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File a Federal Estate Tax Return (Form 706) upon the death of the first spouse to preserve the "portability election" to allow you to use a deceased spouse's unified credit in addition to your own. This will further reduce the likelihood that your estate will be subject to the Federal Estate Tax.

I know not everyone is concerned with this, but the law is subject to change, so it's best to be prepared.
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Old 11-22-2020, 06:18 PM   #16
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... I should’ve asked how much everyone shares with their executors/trustees in advance.
Our executor is our attoney, who is quite a bit younger. Should she be unavailable someone else in her firm will do the deed. Obviously she knows the estate very well and also our intentions and philosophy to apply if anything is ambiguous.

Our will creates three testamentary trusts, each with Schwab as trustee. IIRC there was some paperwork with them to make sure our documents comply with their requirements. Nothing more.

Our "Trust Protector" for all three trusts is a younger and close friend of DW. She knows and has agreed to serve but at this point there is no need for her to know details. Attorney has the wills and docs, of course, but Trust Protector knows the combination to the gun safe where our copies of our docs are located. We also are safekeeping a copy of hers and her DH's estate documents in the safe. We have never and will never look at them.
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Old 11-22-2020, 09:18 PM   #17
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A friend of mine lost his dad a few years ago and he said that his dad was very well organized. He was an old widower and had his affairs in order. One of the best things he did was leave about $5,000 in cash with his instructions in the house and told the family that this was for family expenses due to his funeral. "Use it for gas, hotels, airfare, clothes and other unexpected expenses the grandkids might have because they have to go to miss work and go to grandpa's funeral". He was a wise, thoughtful, practical man.
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Old 11-24-2020, 08:00 AM   #18
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Quote:
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From DW's years in trusts & estates, small items in the house can be problematical because heirs will show up instantly and take what they want. "Mom promised I could have this ... " So a list kept with the will may not be looked at until too late.

She used to recommend to clients that they mark names (masking tape & Sharpie) on the bottoms of items wherever possible and make sure heirs knew that things were marked. If a list is needed, multiple heirs should have a copy so "Mom promised .. " is known to all.
Should be a good idea. DW's Mom marked everything of value in her home for each of the 5 siblings, and they all knew what was earmarked for them. Unfortunately DW's middle sister went to the house before the Mom passed away (while she was in a nursing home) and just took whatever she wanted. The other sibs didn't know until the Mom passed away, but none of them bothered to argue with the greedy middle sister...
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Old 11-24-2020, 09:31 AM   #19
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Great list, Midpack, and good suggestions from others. There's also the question of where such information should be stored.

I would want it to be a one-stop shop for trustees/executors. An idea that comes to mind would be a cloud-based product that you would provide a link to, with probably an ID and password. EverPlans is an example of one that we are not using but have seen. Downside is the annual subscription, but it might be better (built for this specific requirement) than something free like Google Dive or Dropbox.
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Old 11-24-2020, 09:46 AM   #20
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Great list, Midpack, and good suggestions from others. There's also the question of where such information should be stored.

I would want it to be a one-stop shop for trustees/executors. An idea that comes to mind would be a cloud-based product that you would provide a link to, with probably an ID and password. EverPlans is an example of one that we are not using but have seen. Downside is the annual subscription, but it might be better (built for this specific requirement) than something free like Google Dive or Dropbox.


Our attorney did the secure cloud based storage for us. He also said to keep our copy of the original documents in either a safe deposit box or in a fire resistant safe in our home. We are keeping them in a safe. The attorney also has an original set of documents.
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