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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.

-ERD50
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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Old 02-18-2020, 05:09 PM   #67
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My dear mother passed away last weekend. She was almost 95. She had developed dementia which progressed pretty rapidly over the past 2.5 years. I feel as though I had been losing her by inches over that time period and much of my grieving had already taken place. It was a blessing in the end, something which I can now admit. She was a lovely mother. I was very fortunate to be raised by she and my Dad who passed 10 ago.

I will meet with an attorney next week but I was hoping to understand the mechanics of the transfer of her assets. She has a checking account that I am a co owner of and a brokerage account in her name, naming me as sole beneficiary. There is a small whole life policy and a small IRA, both naming me as beneficiary. I am an only child and her executor. That's it. Total value is fairly substantial but well below the federal and state thresholds.

So I am wondering what the mechanics will be of transfering the assets. I'm thinking that as I am joint on the checking account, I could write a check at any time to myself and then close the account. As far as the brokerage account is concerned, there will be a step up and 4 of the holdings I want to hold onto. The remainder I want to sell and reinvest in our AA. I'd like to sell those as soon as possible, thus creating no gains or losses. Would I do that before transfer of assets, or after? If before wouldn't that create a seeming tax event for the brokerage account in her name? Also how do bonds held in the account work? There is one individual bond with a maturity date of 9/20. Is there a payable on death component of individual bonds? If so is it payable on demand at par? I think there is appreciation on that bond, over cost, so would I sell it now to capture the appreciation with no capital gain?

Thanks for your input.
Sorry about your loss. Your Mom was smart to name you the sole beneficiary. When my Mom past away she did something similar but because I had three other brothers and my Mom set up POD accounts for each of her sons. Her house was granted to the oldest son who took care of her in her final years. No one objected to that wish. We consulted our attorney and confirmed no probate is involved and we simply transferred the POD accounts into our name after showing the death certificate and our ID to the banks and financial institutions. I suspect you may go thru a similar process. When you talk to your attorney, verify that no probate is involved and all you have to do is provide your ID and the death certificate to transfer assets in your name.

It sounds like there should be no probate involved provided there is no claim or dispute regarding her estate. The funeral director should have requested that you publish her death in the newpapers. This start a clock when a claim can be filed by a third party. However, each state is different so this is a question for your attorney. Typically, some hospitals or doctors may file a claim on any significant and outstanding medical bills.

Some of your issues may involve tax issues. Your attorney should be knowledgeable of probate laws in your state but your attorney may refer you to a CPA. Your attorney may have a CPA as part of his or her staff. I suggest you bring all of the documents with you.
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Old 02-18-2020, 07:29 PM   #68
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My mother oased away three years ago on PA

All her assets were in POD or beneficiary accounts dornthe six siblings.

I spent $200 on her attorney to verify I did not need to file her will for probate.

I contacted each account owner to split the assets for the six of us.

I filed the PA estate tax asap and then collected the amount due from the sibs.

Everything was fairly easy peasy. OPM was the hadest.
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Old 02-18-2020, 07:42 PM   #69
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When my mom passed a couple of years ago in CA, due to the house she had, I had to hire an attorney, and the house and a piano had to go through probate. But for IRAs, brokerage accounts, etc., I handled all of that stuff outside of probate without an attorney. I contacted Medicare, which had already been contacted by the STRS. I had joint ownership of the checking account, and left it open for 12+ months to pay bills, including those on auto pay. Best wishes. This isn't hard, it's just a little time-consuming!
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Old 02-18-2020, 08:18 PM   #70
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Golden I have no practical advice but I wanted to offer my condolences. xo
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Old 02-18-2020, 10:03 PM   #71
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My dear mother passed away last weekend. She was almost 95. She had developed dementia which progressed pretty rapidly over the past 2.5 years. I feel as though I had been losing her by inches over that time period and much of my grieving had already taken place. It was a blessing in the end, something which I can now admit. She was a lovely mother. I was very fortunate to be raised by she and my Dad who passed 10 ago.

I will meet with an attorney next week but I was hoping to understand the mechanics of the transfer of her assets. She has a checking account that I am a co owner of and a brokerage account in her name, naming me as sole beneficiary. There is a small whole life policy and a small IRA, both naming me as beneficiary. I am an only child and her executor. That's it. Total value is fairly substantial but well below the federal and state thresholds.

So I am wondering what the mechanics will be of transfering the assets. I'm thinking that as I am joint on the checking account, I could write a check at any time to myself and then close the account. As far as the brokerage account is concerned, there will be a step up and 4 of the holdings I want to hold onto. The remainder I want to sell and reinvest in our AA. I'd like to sell those as soon as possible, thus creating no gains or losses. Would I do that before transfer of assets, or after? If before wouldn't that create a seeming tax event for the brokerage account in her name? Also how do bonds held in the account work? There is one individual bond with a maturity date of 9/20. Is there a payable on death component of individual bonds? If so is it payable on demand at par? I think there is appreciation on that bond, over cost, so would I sell it now to capture the appreciation with no capital gain?

Thanks for your input.
Sorry about your momís passing. As prepared as we think we are, and no matter sometimes how we know it is for the best (my fathers case anyway) it is still damn hard..

I may be too late but went through this a few of years ago with my dad. First you take the Death certificate and the will naming you as executor and get Letters Testimentory nameing you the executor by the court. Remember that all the costs related to the settling of the estate are deductible.

If the estate is of any size and has assets to sell, her home, art, jewelry etc. you might want to do it right. Estates must file tax returns and they have to be finaled and accepted by the Fed and State or you as the Executor will have to pay them. 3 years and counting for New York state to accept the estates final return.

Does your state have inheritance taxes? You then file for a Fed ID number for the estate and let the estate transact all business.

So will there be any income on which to pay taxes. If so, you want to reduce it. The estate can sell things with no income tax, only estate tax, but if you take possession of it you might. It is a pain but some good professional advice can save you time and money. It did in my case for sure.

Also now is the time to run down any unclaimed funds that are out there in her name or yours for that matter. There might be more than you would expect . Www.unclaimed.org. Check every State she lived in. Any names or nick names she used etc.

I missed that completely until my attorney suggested it. That alone paid his fee.
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Old 02-19-2020, 02:29 AM   #72
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Iím sorry to hear of your loss. Got here late so it seems u have all the advice u need.
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Old 02-19-2020, 06:33 AM   #73
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Thanks for everyone's advice, anecdotes and kind words. I was able to finish my to do list yesterday. Everything went very smoothly and now I am just waiting for the brokerage funds to transfer to my name stepped up to DOD valuations. I was told it should take about 7 days for the transfer. Life insurance claim is in the mail. Small IRA transferred to my name. Notifications to pensions, annuity companies, health insurance providers all completed. I asked my DIL's father (trusts and estates attorney) when he was at our house after the funeral if I was missing anything and he said no, we had set up everything properly.

The funeral was friday. I delivered the eulogy, which I'm happy to say I was able to do without breaking down. It was cathartic to be able to honor my mother with words from my heart. I usually avoid public speaking, but I guess I've finally outgrown the fear of doing so.

So now, all that is left is to fly back to our winter digs and bake the head cold I have out of my head and the sadness out of my heart.
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Old 02-19-2020, 10:55 AM   #74
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Glad things have gone smoothly for you.
It will take some time for your heart to heal, take your time to grieve and remember your Mom with love.
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Old 02-19-2020, 11:11 AM   #75
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My DIL's father is an estate attorney and a friend. Mom and Dad's attorney has retired, so I think I'll set up an appointment with him or one of his junior associates and ask for advice on how to do this all myself. It won't hurt and I will have the comfort of knowing if I am missing anything.[/QUOTE]


My condolences as well. I was executor of my grandmother,and then for my mother. I have an uncle who is an attorney and he just said go get the paperwork from the probate and make sure all bills are paid. Pretty simple if the estate isn't really big and no one contests anything. I had it all done within about a month but waited to close out completely about 3 months. Good luck.
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Old 02-19-2020, 11:53 AM   #76
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I filed a return for mom for 2018 which resulted in a zero tax liability as her Memory Care facility costs dwarfed her income. 2019 will be the same. 2020 for 32 days I expect will be the same. Care costs dwarf income.

Of course in the case of 32 days the standard deduction which is not prorated might still be bigger, if the only deduction is the medical expenses. (Turbotax states this)
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Old 02-19-2020, 12:41 PM   #77
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Of course in the case of 32 days the standard deduction which is not prorated might still be bigger, if the only deduction is the medical expenses. (Turbotax states this)

Very good point.
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Old 02-19-2020, 01:07 PM   #78
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I just wanted to add a comment.

When I executed my parents A B trusts after their deaths, my Dad's final medical bills came in 7 months after his death. I had not finished all their tax filings so I still had a checkbook to pay the bills. But I didn't expect it to take so long. Medicare had to process first then the secondary, which is what took some time.
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Old 02-19-2020, 03:31 PM   #79
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My sympathies on your loss.

I didn't read all the details in the responses. If she was receiving any SS, pension, or annuity-type payments, they need to be notified to "turn off the tap".

omni
You mean I can't keep mobile depositing dear ole mother's SS checks into our joint account once she passes?
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