Thursday, June 15, 2006

Things I have learned doing probate

For the past few months, I have been helping to administer an estate. This has been my first foray into the probate process. And this is what I have learned:

1) If you think you have enough certified copies of the letters testamentary and death certificate, you only have half as many as you may need. Everyone needs one for their records when it comes to moving the decedent's money around and closing out accounts.

2) Whatever the bank tells you they need to close the accounts, make sure they put it in writing. Otherwise you will end up having to make multiple trips to the branch you are dealing. Despite the fact that people die everyday, it is surprising how poorly trained some bank managers are when it comes to trying to something simple.

3) Make up a portable file containing the death certificate, copy of the will, and the letters testamentary. And keep it with you, always. The one time I left my file at the office, everyone suddenly needed to see it.

4) Heirs suck. I'm dealing with seven main heirs. In life they all supposedly loved the man. In death, all they want is the money.

5) Have a stack of W-9 forms ready to go. Once you get an EIN from the IRS, everyone will need these as well when it comes time to closing out accounts.

Now, remember, these are only my observations. They should not substitute for the judgment of an attorney who represents you (which is not me.... unless you want to get in touch with me and retain me, buts thats something completely different).

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