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Law firm as executor?
Old 07-03-2020, 06:08 AM   #1
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Law firm as executor?

There exists a very real possibillity that my wife and I will not have any living relatives or friends to serve as the executore of the survivor's will. I understand that we can retain a law firm to act as the executor of the survivor's will. My question is, let's say I pass before my wife, leaving her the last remaining person in the family, who will notify the law firm of her passing so they can execute the will?
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Old 07-03-2020, 06:42 AM   #2
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The same person who will be making your final arrangements (funeral, cremation, etc.).... sounds like a friend since there is no family left. No neices or nephews? Or cousins?
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Old 07-03-2020, 06:51 AM   #3
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I am in that situation myself. The "Whom to Notify" list w/ amplifying instructions is in my wallet in case of emergency. e.g Road accident, "I fall and I can't get up", die like Elvis etc. A larger version is in a folder on my desk designed to be found my any police, ambulance crew, neighbor, social worker etc who is called to my house in the event people notice my conspicuous absence.

In the event I am admitted to a hospital or could already be in an assisted living/nursing home, that list of notifications will have to be rendered when I am admitted so they'll already be sitting on the paperwork.

Worst case... something falls through the cracks, someone is perhaps not as attentive as they could have been etc.... there is an office in every country that steps in and handles the dispatch of people's estates in the absence of a Will or other instructions. As soon as they enter the house to assess the situation they will come upon the clearly marked folder on the desk. They will make a couple phone calls to the lawyer and other key individuals and the wheels will be turning.
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Old 07-03-2020, 07:00 AM   #4
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A couple of things.... it does not have to be a lawyer, but could be a bank...


When you pass someone is going to notify the bank and that should kick off them reporting to the trust dept.


Also, you can instruct the potential executor to contact you every 3 or so months to make sure you are alive... when you fail to respond to one of those requests they will investigate...



It took me 4 months to get appointed as executor of my mom's estate... things go slow at times... and with no living relative it would take them a bit of time to find that out...
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Old 07-03-2020, 09:19 AM   #5
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When I was with corporate fiduciaries we examined the obituaries every day and compared them to our will file. There probably are more sophisticated ways to do it today. I do know that credit bureaus pick up this information and furnish it to the banks. I imagine law firms do the same.
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Old 07-03-2020, 10:01 AM   #6
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DW retired as an SVP in Megabank Investments & Trusts. Every morning one of her staff people reviewed all the obits in the paper in an effort to spot any clients that may have died.

But, there's no reason to ask SGOTI this question. Ask your law firm, which is probably the one who did your estate plan and documents.
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Old 07-03-2020, 10:18 AM   #7
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DW retired as an SVP in Megabank Investments & Trusts. Every morning one of her staff people reviewed all the obits in the paper in an effort to spot any clients that may have died.

But, there's no reason to ask SGOTI this question. Ask your law firm, which is probably the one who did your estate plan and documents.
As did we, also at a megabank, but the local obituaries isn't enough when you have clients all over the country.
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Old 07-03-2020, 10:20 AM   #8
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This thread has me thinking. Perhaps put a bread crumb note in an obvious place. Something like a note saying "In case of sudden death or incapacitation, please contact ..." That should clue in the search party. Similar to an in case of emergency (ICE) contact on the phone.
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Old 07-03-2020, 10:26 AM   #9
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The law firm I went with specializes in elder issues and estates. They have someone who reviews the obituaries every day for (former) clients.
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Old 07-03-2020, 12:01 PM   #10
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As did we, also at a megabank, but the local obituaries isn't enough when you have clients all over the country.
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I'm guessing that they probably subscribe to a feed from SS of new deaths. IIRC insurers subscribe to something like that to identify annuities that should be ended... and nowadays also deceased for life insurance policies.
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Old 07-03-2020, 01:20 PM   #11
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The law firm I went with specializes in elder issues and estates. They have someone who reviews the obituaries every day for (former) clients.
How do you know that someone will write an obit for you and pay to have it published so that the law firm can find it during their daily review? It seems like a "please contact X" note left in a prominent place might be more reliable.
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Old 07-03-2020, 03:50 PM   #12
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DH and I also have no family or close friends. We plan to move into a CCRC when we are mid to late 70's, and use an elder care attorney for our wills. We will ensure the CCRC administration has that info. Our plans include cremation, no services, no obit, nothing. All remaining estate goes to animal charities.

In the case of a sudden death of both of us we keep an envelope on my desk stating
"After Death Information". Someone would have to get into the house somehow and find it.
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Old 07-03-2020, 04:31 PM   #13
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The trust and estate planning people have copies. Because of the COVID shutdown, I have the revised originals. They know where to find them.

ETA When I was admitted to the hospital in May, I gave the hospital a family member's contact information and the name and phone number of the attorney. No funeral and they will make arrangements for the body.
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