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Old 02-13-2020, 07:09 AM   #61
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It depends. I got a bunch of death certificates for my mom. I used exactly one of them. It wasn't that no one asked for a death certificate. They did. But everyone would take a copy or PDF except one place (that I don't recall). Some of the places wanted to see the actual death certificate (such as the bank) but they scanned it in and then returned it to me.



I had to have an estate bank account as some checks were received that were payable to my mother's estate. To do this I needed an EIN. It was easy to get online.

I made most of the calls I need to yesterday and so far, I only need to provide a copy of the death certificate, similar to your experience.

I think I'll be able to avoid the estate bank account. I have one call left to make, to the brokerage where the bulk of the funds are. I've been waiting until I receive the death certificate as I expect to be frozen from even looking at the account once I notify them, so I want to be prepared to forward the DC immediately and hope for a quick turnaround on renaming the account in my name with a stepped up basis.
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Old 02-13-2020, 07:22 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
It depends. I got a bunch of death certificates for my mom. I used exactly one of them. It wasn't that no one asked for a death certificate. They did. But everyone would take a copy or PDF except one place (that I don't recall). Some of the places wanted to see the actual death certificate (such as the bank) but they scanned it in and then returned it to me.
This was my experience as well. In at least one case - the DMV I think - they took it from me, looked at it, typed something into their computer, and handed it back. I got 10 official copies and I think I must have at least five left. No regrets on that, though; it would have been a minor PITA to get more.

This may not apply to the OP, but I also got at least 10 sealed copies of the letter saying I was the executor. Those, I needed more than the death certificate. Luckily, the county told me they would give me as many as I wanted (within reason, I'm sure) at the original meeting with them, but would charge me if I had to come back. I think I might have one or two of those left.
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Old 02-13-2020, 07:25 AM   #63
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I was just skimming through most of this thread, so I might have missed something here. But....did the OP say something about an IRA?

If so, be meticulous in how you handle the transfer. The IRS is very rigid about inheriting IRAs.

- Assume your mom was taking withdrawals, so as beneficiary you must continue those, but based on your age. Any tax adviser can help you with this, or just research it on the IRS website.

- Most important, be CERTAIN you instruct your designated financial institution to set up an Inherited IRA account to receive your mother's retirement account. Do not, under any circumstances, mix her assets into your own retirement account, nor take the assets in a check made out to you (with the laudable intention of opening a new IRA personally).

Inherited retirement accounts must always be kept separate, and the "cleanest" way to do it is to have the assets transferred directly between financial institutions, never personally touching it. The IRS just loves those unknowing inheritors who aren't aware of the rules so the Feds can claim the whole thing as income tax-liable, LOL.

My condolences to you on your mom's death. Dementia is so hard on families. You're right, it's something of a relief when you don't have to face an ever-worsening situation. It's a cruel disease and too often heart-breaking.
I spoke with the IRA issuer yesterday. It is a life insurance company. It's a tiny amount. But I don't need any more income this year, so withdrawing it all at once makes no sense. Rather than rolling it over, I've filled out their claim form and chosen the option to claim this years RMD based on my mother's age and I've also chosen the 10 year deferral option for future years. I plan to withdraw even amounts over the next 5 years until it is fully depleted.
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Old 02-13-2020, 07:25 AM   #64
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I made most of the calls I need to yesterday and so far, I only need to provide a copy of the death certificate, similar to your experience.
Things have certainly changed for the better. When my dad died in 96, I got ten official copies and had to get six more. When my mom died in 12, I needed eight official copies. And they were both extremely simple affairs.
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Old 02-13-2020, 07:30 AM   #65
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Regarding the EIN and an estate bank account, bear in mind that the estate is a separate entity from the deceased or the heirs. It sounds like your situation is much simpler than mine, but I had a ton of stuff to run through the estate's checking account. The funds from my Dad's accounts were transferred to the estate's accounts, and I had to pay all remaining bills, as well as receive remaining checks, in those accounts.

But, OTOH, I had multiple heirs to make an accounting to, and the limit to avoid probate in my state was quite low; both situations which may not apply to OP. In my case, the sale of the real estate was the biggest chunk which put it way over the limit. The frustrating part was that the state wouldn't allow the estate to be closed out for at least 12 months. With the low interest rates we have these days the cash from the house earned virtually nothing. At least I didn't have to file a 1041 since the interest earned was less than the limit.
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:52 AM   #66
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In our experience, the lawyers only made things more difficult and they charged unscrupulous fees when my FIL passed.

-ERD50
Find a better lawyer. ...
Easier said than done. How does one know ahead of time if the lawyers are any good or not? At any rate, they weren't my choice, they were the ones my MIL/FIL hired, and I had to deal with them when FIL passed. We DIY when MIL passed, and it was easier/cheaper/less-stressful than dealing with those blood-suckers.

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Maybe someone can chime in on that, or I may look into my NOLO book later.

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So you will use your book and perhaps come back and offer legal advice? Got it.
I'm just catching up on the thread, and I think the question has been answered, but I will try to review it later (got some projects going on). At any rate, offering up some reference materials for the OP to review so they can educate themselves is hardly "offering legal advice".

If one doesn't educate themselves, how would they find a "good lawyer" as you suggest above?

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