How to be a good executor to family

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PoppyA
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How to be a good executor to family

Post by PoppyA » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:23 pm

I am Looking for tips on how to be a good executor. I am not so much interested in the mechanics of the execution ie: probate rules, laws. I would like to know how to administer the will and keep family members informed/happy.

I know many times the death of a family member splits families apart. I would like to hear from anyone with past experiences.

Thank you!
"La Bella Luna"

EHEngineer
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by EHEngineer » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:45 pm

First, I'm sorry for your loss. And I wish you luck being an executor. Its a thankless job. I hope it isn't contentious.

This book is a great guide. It's full of useful tips.
https://www.amazon.com/nolo-executors-g ... rs%20guide

One thing that I learned the hard way is dealing with physical possessions of the deceased.
1) Valuables. Secure them, assess their value, and assign them to beneficiaries explicitly and openly an in accordance with the will/trust.
2) Let family tour the house & take momentos. You should account for value if there is anything substantial - eg nice furniture.
*Note: You may want to let the beneficiaries in first, then other family, on separate days.
3) Garage sale / Estate Sale
4) Goodwill/Salvation Army/Charitable donations
5) Scrap
Or, you can ... decline to let me, a stranger on the Internet, egg you on to an exercise in time-wasting, and you could say "I'm probably OK and I don't care about it that much." -Nisiprius

PoundCake
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by PoundCake » Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:22 pm

Three pieces of advice, having watched my in-laws blow up and been through my own family's experience (which, overall, was not bad)....

First, be as transparent as possible. Unless a beneficiary has been through this before, he or she won't know about the timelines, or any of the processes associated with handling an estate. So tell them. With my siblings -- the people I care most about -- I was very open: I emailed them regularly with updates, and gave them access to the master spreadsheet I used for the estate. I doubt they fully appreciated all the work I put into that crazy spreadsheet, but I know they appreciated that it was there for them to examine. For the other beneficiaries (extended family, friends, charities), I sent a few emails when there were delays, etc.

Second, while you have the authority to make decisions on your own, it doesn't hurt to let others weigh in. If, for example, you're handling the estate of a parent and dealing with selling the family home, recognize that other family members will be emotionally invested in that home. You have the authority to put the house on the market and clean out the house without checking in with anyone else, but that's the kind of thing that can cause problems. Of course, you won't be able to include others in every decision you have to make. But when and where you feel comfortable doing so, you should.

Third, consider not taking executor fees. I believe that people should be paid for their work, and handling an estate can be an incredible amount of work. In my situation, I decided against taking fees because I thought that it might possibly create friction over time. I just didn't think the value of the extra money would be worth that possibility. Everyone's situation is different though.

daveydoo
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by daveydoo » Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:26 am

I could write for an hour about this. First, so sorry about your loved one.

Be painfully transparent. Annoyingly, stupefyingly transparent. I used my emails to relatives as my log book, and even said that much of this detail is for my benefit (i.e., for my records). I also set up an estate Gmail account that I CC'ed everything to. Every email to lawyer, accountant, custodian, real estate appraiser, etc. It's all still there. I did not share the password with benes but I pretty much told them it was one of a handful of passwords that the deceased used and they all could have dug in with modest effort. None did.

I notified everyone each time I wrote a check from estate account and kept this my only neat, legible checkbook.

I got buy-in from everyone before proceeding with any step. This was painful at first since all were bright and asked good (if naive) questions. Eventually they trusted my judgment and I would make recommendations and invite dissent which seldom came.

We used a professional asset manager (I could write for another hour) because there were wildly discrepant views among beneficiaries about role of various investment vehicles. So I outsourced that for harmony and for my own protection. I negotiated hard for an attractive rate.

If you require an estate attorney, get an estimate up front -- as soon as you can communicate the complexity of the situation. We had to fire one (never done that before) and the next group was very professional and gave us ballpark, high, and low estimate figures. They will tell you that you can save money by doing some/much of this work yourself. I think I mostly saved them money, not us, but the more I knew, the less we got burned.

There are things that will fall in the gray areas between estate attorney, accountant, and asset manager. Maybe if you're really rich and have a tax attorney and who-knows-who-else involved, this all comes into place -- but I saved us a lot of money by worrying and cost us some money by not jumping on things that fell outside others' purview. Examples: batching estate expenses into 2017; taking deceased's RMD in her waning days (at her low marginal rate); CG implications of asset consolidation; fixing cost bases that were never stepped up despite repeated communication with custodian; etc.

Yes, as others have said: do not take one penny for being executor. Literally. My spouse called this my "second job" and I've been doing it for years (long story). I made clear that I'm no saint; I'm acting in self-interest. I've learned a ton, although I only discovered BH toward the end.

Again, so sorry, and best of luck. Feel free to PM me.
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

Gnirk
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by Gnirk » Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:36 am

I was executor of my mom’s estate, and it can be very time- consuming. My brother and I were the only beneficiaries. I maintained several spreadsheets, as well as a journal/ timeline of all activity, from meeting with the attorney, picking up the death certificates, speaking with her financial institutions, etc. I kept a spreadsheet of all estate income, expenses, and distributions. I emailed a copy each month to my brother so he knew who, what, where, when, why and how much. I did this as much for my own protection as for keeping him informed and up to date.

It took only 9 months to settle the estate because I had managed her medical care and finances for 10 years. And kept income/ expense spreadsheets by month during all those years. Time consuming but worth it when you are DPOA and are therefor fiduciary for someone else.

And No, I took nothing for being executor, or DPOA....wouldn’t have even considered it.

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dm200
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by dm200 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:47 am

PoppyA wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:23 pm
I am Looking for tips on how to be a good executor. I am not so much interested in the mechanics of the execution ie: probate rules, laws. I would like to know how to administer the will and keep family members informed/happy.
I know many times the death of a family member splits families apart. I would like to hear from anyone with past experiences.
Thank you!
It can, often, depend on all the family details. I suspect that, for some aspects of estate administration that might become "contentious", it might be wise and prudent to engage an attorney (with no family history/baggage) to "independently" handle aspects of such matters.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:12 am

Communication is the big thing. With a recent family estate, communication was nil.

How much was received from the estate sale? How much was spent fixing up the house for sale? When did it sell? What was the sale price? What were the closing costs? How much was spent on the attorney and CPA fees? When will the estate tax return be ready? Is that the last tax return for the estate/trust? What were the trust assets, and when were they liquidated? When should distributions be expected?

Except for the home sale price (available thru county records), the date of trust asset distributions (we did eventually get a check, with no data as to how the total was derived) and the date of the estate tax form (we got a K-1, and on further conversation with the CPA were able to determine several mistakes had been made on the 1041) we will never know the answers to any of these questions, because the executor was lazy and sloppy. I do understand that it is a tedious process, but not everyone who undertakes it puts in even the minimum required effort.

So keep in mind that if others haven't been executors before they don't understand what you are doing, and any information you give them will be helpful. If they have been executors, then they will have some expectations about what you are doing, and any confirmation that you are indeed ticking off all the boxes will be helpful so they can track the process.

RickBoglehead
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by RickBoglehead » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:14 am

I was named executor for my father's estate by the probate court (no will). My wife is the executor for her father's estate, and also the only heir, and I am doing all that work.

In my father's case, all children including myself were estranged. We had no idea what he had been up to, or debts that he may have had. Therefore, from the beginning, I was anal about documenting everything. Other children wanted nothing to do with executing the estate, so we agreed that I would be executor. We also agreed that I would be paid hourly (the state specified "reasonable compensation", check on your state laws). I kept a timesheet in Excel, and regularly dispersed funds, including to myself for my work.

Once we passed the period where claims could be made (none were), I dispersed more funds. No house to sell, lease car was handed back in, bank accounts consolidated.

Got third party appraisals (nothing of significant auctionable value), then asked who wanted what assets and kept tally of values, so that in the end everyone got their designated share, minus my fees. I put 274 hours of work in. Other beneficiaries laughed when I drove there and loaded U-Haul with "crap", then sold it for thousands, which each getting a share, including me. They would have simply donated it all to "be done".

The other two beneficiaries often said "better you than me" and "thanks for doing this" every time they got a check.

I would never agree to be an executor without charging for time. Usually you'll find that no one else wants to help, and it's a lot of work. Once all claims, if any, are settled, then as executor you can choose to NOT take any fees if you want. However, the executor's fees are paid before claims are paid, so you want to make sure that you get paid if the estate is going to have claims against it. If you aren't a beneficiary, then you definitely should be charging for your work. If you are a beneficiary, and charging for your work as executor is going to cause issues, point out that hiring third parties (as is your right) to do what you would do is going to cost many, many times more.

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dm200
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by dm200 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:30 am

Not an issue with any of my or my wife's family, but one common source of "friction" I have often observed in such situations is the actual or perceived fairness or unfairness if/when a family member has provided assistance to the deceased. For example, an acquaintance of ours (her side of the story) helped care for her late mother for a year or two. She (with complete concurrence of the mother) used the mother's credit cards (as authorized user) to purchase things that directly related to assisting the mother.

Now, after the mother died, the sister has responsibility for settling the estate -- and alleges that all of such charges be subtracted from the other daughter's share of the estate -- UNLESS the sister can document all such charges - proving that they directly benefitted the late mother.

Tal-
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by Tal- » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:32 am

I'm not the OP, but I do have a related question:

How transparent should you be on bad news, and how? For example, if I'm deciding person A gets something that person A and B both want, is it fair to send a single email including both with your reasoning, which may not resonate well with person B (for example: Person A had more interaction with the item while the deceased was alive, and I believe the deceased would have wanted that item to go to person A)?
Debt is to personal finance as a knife is to cooking.

RickBoglehead
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by RickBoglehead » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:36 am

Tal- wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:32 am
I'm not the OP, but I do have a related question:

How transparent should you be on bad news, and how? For example, if I'm deciding person A gets something that person A and B both want, is it fair to send a single email including both with your reasoning, which may not resonate well with person B (for example: Person A had more interaction with the item while the deceased was alive, and I believe the deceased would have wanted that item to go to person A)?
You are the executor. You decide things. Whether you choose to explain things in depth, which may yield rebuttals, is up to you. In that case, I would simply say "I have decided that person A will get the ____" and leave it at that.

Cody
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by Cody » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:55 am

Are there things that the deceased could have done or done better to help out in this process.

Cody

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:02 am

Tal- wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:32 am
I'm not the OP, but I do have a related question:

How transparent should you be on bad news, and how? For example, if I'm deciding person A gets something that person A and B both want, is it fair to send a single email including both with your reasoning, which may not resonate well with person B (for example: Person A had more interaction with the item while the deceased was alive, and I believe the deceased would have wanted that item to go to person A)?
For household "stuff", I think it's better if you can put off distributing it until everyone can get together. People can draw straws to pick something first, they can assign $$ or points to items and "bid" on them, or whatever other process you/they decide on. Having the executor decide and announce the decision should be the last choice. Maybe it is necessary if some or all can't travel, but I've never seen a case where that was needed.

dbr
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by dbr » Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:08 am

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:02 am
Tal- wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:32 am
I'm not the OP, but I do have a related question:

How transparent should you be on bad news, and how? For example, if I'm deciding person A gets something that person A and B both want, is it fair to send a single email including both with your reasoning, which may not resonate well with person B (for example: Person A had more interaction with the item while the deceased was alive, and I believe the deceased would have wanted that item to go to person A)?
For household "stuff", I think it's better if you can put off distributing it until everyone can get together. People can draw straws to pick something first, they can assign $$ or points to items and "bid" on them, or whatever other process you/they decide on. Having the executor decide and announce the decision should be the last choice. Maybe it is necessary if some or all can't travel, but I've never seen a case where that was needed.
In one case in my experience the will specified all personal property go to one certain individual. When the time came that person refused to have anything to do with taking any of it. I guess the effort to clear out the property was something he didn't want to make. Other people managed to deal with it amicably.

Luckywon
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by Luckywon » Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:40 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:14 am

In my father's case, all children including myself were estranged. We had no idea what he had been up to, or debts that he may have had. Therefore, from the beginning, I was anal about documenting everything. Other children wanted nothing to do with executing the estate, so we agreed that I would be executor. We also agreed that I would be paid hourly (the state specified "reasonable compensation", check on your state laws).
I am trying to get a sense of what a reasonable compensation is for this. May I ask what your hourly rate was? How did you decide on it?

RickBoglehead
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by RickBoglehead » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:02 am

Luckywon wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:40 am
RickBoglehead wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:14 am

In my father's case, all children including myself were estranged. We had no idea what he had been up to, or debts that he may have had. Therefore, from the beginning, I was anal about documenting everything. Other children wanted nothing to do with executing the estate, so we agreed that I would be executor. We also agreed that I would be paid hourly (the state specified "reasonable compensation", check on your state laws).
I am trying to get a sense of what a reasonable compensation is for this. May I ask what your hourly rate was? How did you decide on it?
Sure. $50 an hour.

I charge $200 an hour for my consulting business (discounted somewhat for long engagements). Lawyers charge from $150 - $300 an hour an up.

I suggested $50, other beneficiaries agreed, and that was that. No way that a court won't say it's reasonable given other rates.

KSAL889813
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by KSAL889813 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:06 am

Luckywon wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:40 am
RickBoglehead wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:14 am

In my father's case, all children including myself were estranged. We had no idea what he had been up to, or debts that he may have had. Therefore, from the beginning, I was anal about documenting everything. Other children wanted nothing to do with executing the estate, so we agreed that I would be executor. We also agreed that I would be paid hourly (the state specified "reasonable compensation", check on your state laws).
I am trying to get a sense of what a reasonable compensation is for this. May I ask what your hourly rate was? How did you decide on it?
It differs by state, the state sets a maximum amount (you could take less than that but not more). Take into account taxes as well. Executor taxes are typically more than beneficiary taxes.

Update w/links for NJ:
Here are two NJ compensation links...
https://www.klenklaw.com/fees/new-jerse ... utor-fees/
http://www.eldercarelawyer.com/articles ... cutor.html

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munemaker
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by munemaker » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:11 am

PoppyA wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:23 pm
I am Looking for tips on how to be a good executor. I am not so much interested in the mechanics of the execution ie: probate rules, laws. I would like to know how to administer the will and keep family members informed/happy.

I know many times the death of a family member splits families apart. I would like to hear from anyone with past experiences.

Thank you!
Recently, as executor, took a $150,000 estate through probate in PA.
1) I did not charge a fee. Only charged for expenses actually incurred.
2) I did not hire an estate attorney. Did it myself.
3) Kept the beneficiaries (I was not one) in the loop at every step. Gave them copies of the appropriate forms and responses. To be honest, the beneficiaries did not seem all that interested in the process.
4) At the end, they did appreciate the inheritance and that they did not have to pay any fees to a lawyer or executor.

Note that if you do take an executor fee, it is subject to income tax.

Taking the estate through probate did take a lot more time and work than I expected. I had done one of these before but it had been a few years. The whole process used to be almost shrouded in secrecy, but now information is readily available and it is as simple (or complex) as filing your income tax.
Last edited by munemaker on Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

spectec
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by spectec » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:11 am

Lots of wisdom in all these replies.
I'll add one more.
Bookmark this link, study what they recommend, and buy their workbook.
http://www.extension.umn.edu/family/per ... pie-plate/

One suggestion from this site caused me to take a somewhat unusual action in the early phases of settling an estate. Long after the estate was settled, I learned that this probably headed off a lawsuit that was being seriously considered by some parties.
Don't gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it. - Will Rogers

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Blueskies123
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by Blueskies123 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:23 am

So this got me thinking about how to handle two issues I might soon have. Mom died a few months and Dad is not well. I will get right to my questions:
1) How did you handle the issue if my brother and I wanted the same few things?
2) My brother and I both have keys. I am concerned he might let him self in and take what he wants, (don't ask, lets just say there is a real chance). Nothing of any real value except Mom's wedding ring, some nice tools, and a few antique guns. If you have had this experience what did you do?

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Blueskies123
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by Blueskies123 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:30 am

Yes, I am the executor.

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friar1610
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by friar1610 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:36 am

I was an executor twice - once for my mother and once for my aunt. The first was easy as I was also the sole heir. The second was time-consuming but not awful; there were about 8 heirs one of whom was me and two of whom were my children. These comments pertain to the second case:

- it's useful to retain an attorney to assist but not run the whole show. Some attorneys will want to charge a percentage of the estate regardless of the hours s/he puts in. Others will charge by the hour for the work they actually do.,I recommend the latter. There are many tasks you can do without paying an attorney's (or even a paralegal's) hourly rate.

- others have mentioned communication. I sent a periodic letter to all beneficiaries advising them of the progress of the process. These days I would probably use email.

- depending on your jurisdiction and attorney advice consider partial cash payments to beneficiaries as the process progresses. My attorney said it would be OK to disburse a quarter or half of the money once he became convinced there would be no surprise claims against the estate but prior to the final estate settlement. I was quite conservative on the amounts I disbursed but doing so kept the beneficiaries happy and kept them from bugging me with questions about when the process would be finalized.

- don't do any more work than you have to. My aunt had become a hoarder and her house was chock full of junk. One particular nephew got the house and all of the other named beneficiaries were given a percentage of her financial assets. The nephew inheriting the house wanted me to have the house cleaned out. Since the will made no mention of who should get the contents of the house I declined to do it myself (too much work) or have the estate pay for it (would have taken money from the other beneficiaries). So he got both the house and the junk inside of it. (It was a nice, if unkempt, house on Cape Cod so he still made out fine.)

- do everything by the book, keep good records and document every phone call related to the process with a brief memo for the record.

Hope this helps.
Last edited by friar1610 on Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Friar1610

daveydoo
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by daveydoo » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:47 am

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:02 am

For household "stuff", I think it's better if you can put off distributing it until everyone can get together. People can draw straws to pick something first, they can assign $$ or points to items and "bid" on them, or whatever other process you/they decide on. Having the executor decide and announce the decision should be the last choice.
+1. I'm the only eBayer. I took some things of value that no one knew what to do with and told all that I'd sell and split the proceeds evenly. I took other things that no one wanted and said I would sell and not split the proceeds (worth very little and the effort of taking photos and posting, etc., exceeds the value of the items). Deceased collected said things or could not bear to part with them so I knew I would not Goodwill them or junk them. This has worked out fine. Dollars-per-hour, it has been very low yield but it's been therapeutic and I like getting the best price possible for the deceased's "stuff" since that would make this person happy.
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

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8foot7
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by 8foot7 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:07 am

My wife just went through this. Her mother died. Five beneficiaries, three which had specific monetary assignments, and then her brother and her who basically split everything that was left 50/50.

Death was in February. There was a house with a mortgage. It took close to two months to get access to bank accounts in order to make payments from the estate funds. Technically we could have advanced the funds, but we decided since the house was to be sold anyway, we saw no need to extend credit to the estate just to make Wells Fargo happy. House was full of stuff, crap. Estate sale held toward the end of May, and those folks take a hefty percentage but left the house perfectly clean and ready for realtor showings. Netted $10,000 or so on the estate sale. House was sold by June, closing in July. Final funds were distributed in September after the claim waiting period; some claims came in even after the waiting period and they were honored.

Ultimately my wife spent hundreds of hours on this and the remainder of the beneficiaries did exactly nothing. I convinced her to take an executrix fee early in the process, asking her why she'd work for free (we have two kids and demanding jobs) when her brother is unemployed and stands to inherit an equal amount could sit and do nothing. She netted about $4,500, which is worse than working at McDonald's.

The estate is still technically open awaiting an income tax refund. So 14 months.

It was all *fairly* straightforward. The bumpiest parts are the first two months when you need to do things but technically cannot. Once the estate is open, a bank account set up, and things start getting liquidated, it's mainly a matter of playing accounting clerk.

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Hub
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by Hub » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:13 am

I think a high percent of us BH's will be executors due to our nature. I expect to be one for my parents and for my wife to be one for hers. Thank you for this informative thread.

I've watched my parents be executors on their parents and brothers' estates and nothing contentious occurred. The one of significant value had done proper estate planning and there wasn't much to decide by the executor. Helped that nobody cared about specific physical possessions.

On the other side, my MIL hasn't spoken to her sister since the estate of their parents was settled. This was a good example of now not to be a good executor. Her sister was so opaque that it just seemed like she was trying to unfairly benefit from her role as executor. Treated her other sisters as if they had no right to get a proper accounting of the assets, tried to sell the farm land to her own son at a possibly below market price (but didn't), etc. At the end of the day she appears to have settled the estate fine, but her lack of transparency made it a terrible process and ruined her remaining family relationships.

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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by pintail07 » Wed Apr 25, 2018 5:09 pm

Interesting thread as I am named executor in 90 year old parents estate. Three other siblings and estate is several million with real estate and oil interests. I am the oldest and semi retired but reluctant to accept this role without being compensated because it will be a long time consuming job.

PoppyA
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by PoppyA » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:26 pm

Thank you all for your responses!

One more question/issue....I am an iOS user in need of a good estate spreadsheet. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to creat one. Any idea where I could find one?
"La Bella Luna"

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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by dknightd » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:39 pm

PoppyA wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:23 pm
I am Looking for tips on how to be a good executor.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Pretend your brother or sister was named as executor.
How would you like them to do it? Do better!

dknightd
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by dknightd » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:49 pm

PoppyA wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:26 pm
Thank you all for your responses!

One more question/issue....I am an iOS user in need of a good estate spreadsheet. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to creat one. Any idea where I could find one?
You want to do this on a telephone? Isn't iOS a telephone OS? You might want to hire a professional if the money warrants it. You might ask one of your siblings to take over this role if you think they are more qualified.

PoppyA
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by PoppyA » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:42 pm

Oooops! A Mac!

No, I don’t want to do it on a phone! :D
"La Bella Luna"

Iowa David
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by Iowa David » Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:19 pm

PoppyA wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:42 pm
Oooops! A Mac!

No, I don’t want to do it on a phone! :D
I would recommend setting up a free gmail account. This account will also provide you with a very capable spreadsheet (called sheets) that allows you to easily share with others.

https://www.google.com/sheets/about/
"Just a 1 percent difference in expenses makes an 18 percent difference in returns when compounded over 20 years." The Boglehead's Guide to Investing

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Thu Apr 26, 2018 12:38 pm

dknightd wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:49 pm
You want to do this on a telephone? Isn't iOS a telephone OS?
Also iPads.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

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AllieTB1323
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by AllieTB1323 » Thu Apr 26, 2018 12:47 pm

PoppyA wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:42 pm
Oooops! A Mac!

No, I don’t want to do it on a phone! :D
Doesn't your Mac have "Numbers" installed?

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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by RadAudit » Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:11 pm

Blueskies123 wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:23 am
So this got me thinking about how to handle two issues I might soon have. Mom died a few months and Dad is not well. I will get right to my questions:

2) My brother and I both have keys. I am concerned he might let him self in and take what he wants, (don't ask, lets just say there is a real chance). Nothing of any real value except Mom's wedding ring, some nice tools, and a few antique guns. If you have had this experience what did you do?
Dad was an executor of his sister-in-law's estate. His opinion was it was the duty of the executor to secure the estate. In this case, it meant changing the locks.

He arrived at that opinion after being a tad slow in getting to the house immediately after the funeral. And by the way, although there may be nothing of any real value, some folks will rush in and try to scoop it up anyway.
FI is the best revenge. LBYM. Invest the rest. Stay the course. - PS: The Calvary isn't coming, kids. You are on your own.

RetiredArtist
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by RetiredArtist » Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:15 pm

Since everyone uses Excel/Word, it was worth putting MS Office on my Mac. (Using Numbers & Pages was producing all those "save as" files)
Because I had just retired, I had time to learn how to be a trustee/executor. It was time consuming. I was a beneficiary, so did not want to be paid. I agree about transparency. I sent copies of everything to everyone. We had a good trust lawyer, CPA & Financial Advisor (3 separate people). The process made my immediate family closer. Everyone was reasonable, and we all got along, which makes sense- we were raised be the same people. I know we were lucky.

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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by trueblueky » Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:56 pm

Cody wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:55 am
Are there things that the deceased could have done or done better to help out in this process.

Cody
Don't put everything in TOD if it's not to spouse. The estate will have expenses. A relative with no children left nearly all to only sibling. Easy stuff (bank account, brokerage accounts, CDs, IRA) were TOD. That meant the heir has to pay out of "own" assets to maintain deceased's house until it can be sold. This is managable in this case with one main heir. I don't think it would work well with several heirs.

Make a will. Dad was executor for his uncle who did not. By state law, 1/2 to widow, 1/2 to children per stirpes. Seven children. Two had already died, leaving their children to receive shares. Most of the estate consisted of the family farm.

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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by PoppyA » Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:21 pm

Yes, I have numbers on my MAC, a google account, etc. The issue is I don’t know how to make a spreadsheet, though I have tried to learn several times.

Any ideas?
"La Bella Luna"

dbr
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by dbr » Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:34 pm

PoppyA wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:21 pm
Yes, I have numbers on my MAC, a google account, etc. The issue is I don’t know how to make a spreadsheet, though I have tried to learn several times.

Any ideas?
In our community often computer courses can be found through Community Ed. A starting place to look might be your local library.

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blacktupelo
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by blacktupelo » Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:41 pm

See https://www.lynda.com/Numbers-training- ... 262-0.html . Some public libraries have access to Lynda courses.
Larry

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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by dknightd » Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:20 pm

RetiredArtist wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:15 pm
Since everyone uses Excel/Word, it was worth putting MS Office on my Mac. (Using Numbers & Pages was producing all those "save as" files)
Because I had just retired, I had time to learn how to be a trustee/executor. It was time consuming. I was a beneficiary, so did not want to be paid. I agree about transparency. I sent copies of everything to everyone. We had a good trust lawyer, CPA & Financial Advisor (3 separate people). The process made my immediate family closer. Everyone was reasonable, and we all got along, which makes sense- we were raised be the same people. I know we were lucky.
You are a lucky person. I think MS office can open Apple docs. But am not sure. Thanks for you service. My brother is executor for my parents. I've already told him I support whatever he decides to do. I imagine it is a thankless job. I plan to thank him! There are some inlaws who seem to be getting greedy. I don't care

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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by dknightd » Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:31 pm

PoppyA wrote:
Thu Apr 26, 2018 6:21 pm
Yes, I have numbers on my MAC, a google account, etc. The issue is I don’t know how to make a spreadsheet, though I have tried to learn several times.

Any ideas?
Paper and pencil work just fine for a once in a lifetime event

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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by bsteiner » Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:31 pm

Keep the beneficiaries informed as to what you're doing. Often when there's a problem it's because the executors haven't been keeping the beneficiaries informed as to what they're doing.

Doing it well is more important than doing it quickly.

Hire competent counsel.

RetiredArtist
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by RetiredArtist » Thu May 03, 2018 1:47 pm

I learned some Excel at work, and had taken a community college course as well. It might have been overkill to learn Excel while learning how to be trustee/executor. Pencil & paper work too, but are harder to share- either scan & email, or snail mail.
My point was, no one in the real world seems to use Numbers. A PC user can open Numbers, and then do a "save as" into Excel. The PC user sends the Excel file to your mac, and you open in, and do a "save as" into Numbers. You end up with twice the number of files.

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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by aron » Sun May 06, 2018 11:23 am

Thanks so much for this thread and the great advice. I now have two books to borrow or buy before visiting my parents next. I'm executor and, luckily, my mother is very organized; she provides me with an updated flash drive full of passwords, account balances and so on regularly. She also has a funeral file with her wishes. Talking with my father is more difficult as he plans to be immortal. :?

My question is regarding my MIL and her estate. She is in assisted living near us and was essentially moved here by my DH's older siblings. Her trust was updated at my insistence as it was done in another state many years ago. We took care of that. DH provides the weekly care, of course, but has a time-consuming job. After a sibling discussion, someone else now handles the medical appointments during regular visits. Theoretically, the last sibling does finances, but has not. My husband is still managing her Vanguard account, paying bills, doing taxes, etc. My in-law recently told DH, "I am really not good with financial matters." Guess who is the executor?

Any suggestions on how to prep the estate for a smooth settlement would by gratefully received. Thus far my husband has been trying to spend down non-Vanguard accounts, etc.

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SeeMoe
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Re: How to be a good executor to family

Post by SeeMoe » Sun May 06, 2018 5:22 pm

We have had problems with family members whom , when asked, were appointed as our executors in our will. One just wanted out after awhile. Another began suggesting ways in which we could help his cousin out with some big number “donations.” Finally we asked the attorney if he would be the executor and he agreed to do so...What a relief!

SeeMoe.. :oops:.... :mrgreen:
"By gnawing through a dike, even a Rat can destroy a nation ." {Edmund Burke}

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