Post Mortem Settlement

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vested1
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Post Mortem Settlement

Post by vested1 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:13 am

My MIL passed on at age 95 ten days ago on July 30th, and I've been handling all aspects of the settlement of her affairs. This is largely due to the fact that my wife is the oldest child and that she is the only child of four that still resides locally. I'm trying to relieve the stress on my wife while honoring the wishes of her and her siblings who are scattered amongst several States.

Even with what I thought was adequate preparation, there have been some surprises that were unforeseen. I've found that regardless of my good intentions, emotions run high at times, and motives are questioned. I've listed some of the issues below, all of which are well into resolution, but would be curious to hear from others about what they may have gone through. This could be instructive to others if/when they find themselves thrust into this responsibility.

- My MIL had not filed State or federal taxes for 7 years. Two siblings assumed the other was handling this. We filed her 2017 taxes this week and a small refund will be sent to her checking account from both entities to pay for the filing. The accountant we went to is very familiar with this situation and said to wait for a response from the IRS to see if they want us to file on her behalf for the other 6 years. We are of the opinion that California and the feds will be happy to keep the total $400 per year refund rather than give it to the tax preparer. This decision was suggested by the accountant, a CPA who has been doing this for 40 years.

- SS and Medicare notification and cancellation with submittal of death certificates. We will have to repay the July SS payment and other entities that want their last payment back.

- United Heath Care supplemental insurance cancelled with forms to fill out. Premiums will still be deducted from her checking account until UHC receives death certificate, which I will pick up today.

- Calpers pension notification with forms to fill out and death certificate sent.

- Annuity company notification with forms to fill out by all siblings and one death certificate sent. Ongoing (1/4 of original) payments to 4 siblings for 7 more years. This deferred annuity was a surprise that began disbursement two years ago, and they refuse to send us a contract even though my wife has full POA and is executor of the trust. The annuity company has been difficult and we may need to get her lawyer involved.

- Mortuary, payments for cremation, death certificates, etc, above and beyond available funds from MIL's accounts. I wrote two obituaries, one for the paper one for the mortuary website. Finding and submitting a flattering picture of my MIL.

- Cemetery, recovering payment for three family member's niche spaces. We have the ashes for the other two and I will pick up MIL ashes today. Her final wish, and that of the other two, her husband and sister, are to be scattered together in the ocean.

- Charter of a boat with permits to scatter ashes. Hiring a pastor to say some words at the scattering.

- Settling last bill with the skilled nursing facility where she resided for the last several years.

- Informing all friends and acquaintances of her death and dealing with their emotions.

- Her attorney. Dealing with the disposition of her condo and a previously established shared deed between the siblings.

- The sale of her condo and all that entails. Dealing with 4 sets of signatures and documents (future). Getting a real estate agent and negotiating a commission of 5% (complete). Professional assessment of current value for step up in basis calculations. Many other issues that I won't go into here, but I will be preparing the condo for sale with little or no help.

I'm sure I've left something out. At first the task seemed daunting, but progress has been good. I look forward to a time when we can start living our lives for ourselves in the near future, as my wife and I visited her mother daily, and made sure she was comfortable. Her death is a mixed bag of relief and guilt at the recognition of that relief.
Last edited by vested1 on Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

TSR
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by TSR » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:59 am

This is interesting and helpful. This sounds complicated but not necessarily more so than most. I'd be interested in hearing updates. Thank you, and condolences for your loss.

pshonore
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by pshonore » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:28 pm

Sorry for your loss. Her July payment from SS was her benefit for the month of June and she was entitled to that. Since she did not live for the entire month of July, any payment received in August should be returned

RickBoglehead
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by RickBoglehead » Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:31 pm

Good luck on recovering payment for cemetery plots. My in-law's bought 6 spaces with her sister and husband many years ago. The intent, never documented, was for each to use 3 spaces (pretty funny since SIL had 2 kids and would need 4 spaces, vs. my in-law's needing 3 spaces.

SIL, husband and a daughter passed years ago, used their 3 spaces. 1 of my in-law's spaces used for a brother. 2 spaces left.

FIL learns of free burial in national cemeteries for veterans (WWII) and elects to do that. Suggests that we give the two plots to remaining child of SIL, who is in his 60s. DW declines.

In-laws pass away, we contact cemetery, provide proof of ownership. They require that son of SIL sign away his right, he hasn't responded to requests. They advise that market for resale is very limited, and they have plenty of space so no interest in rebuying plots.

I've done 2 full estates, 1 partial (MIL to FIL). What a PITA, even with one heir. My father died intestate, and out of state, even more fun.

Best wishes.

RudyS
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by RudyS » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:00 pm

RickBoglehead wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:31 pm
Good luck on recovering payment for cemetery plots. My in-law's bought 6 spaces with her sister and husband many years ago. The intent, never documented, was for each to use 3 spaces (pretty funny since SIL had 2 kids and would need 4 spaces, vs. my in-law's needing 3 spaces.

SIL, husband and a daughter passed years ago, used their 3 spaces. 1 of my in-law's spaces used for a brother. 2 spaces left.

FIL learns of free burial in national cemeteries for veterans (WWII) and elects to do that. Suggests that we give the two plots to remaining child of SIL, who is in his 60s. DW declines.

In-laws pass away, we contact cemetery, provide proof of ownership. They require that son of SIL sign away his right, he hasn't responded to requests. They advise that market for resale is very limited, and they have plenty of space so no interest in rebuying plots.

I've done 2 full estates, 1 partial (MIL to FIL). What a PITA, even with one heir. My father died intestate, and out of state, even more fun.

Best wishes.
Re: resale of plots:
I was researching buying a pair of plots on the "secondary market" and found this company. There are others. I know nothing about them.
http://www.buyandsellcemeteryplots.com/ ... rvices.htm

donall
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by donall » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:08 pm

OP, great job on helping your wife during a difficult time.
I’m adding to this by suggesting you get one last credit report then write the three agencies of your MIL’s passing.

vested1
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by vested1 » Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:23 am

pshonore wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:28 pm
Sorry for your loss. Her July payment from SS was her benefit for the month of June and she was entitled to that. Since she did not live for the entire month of July, any payment received in August should be returned
That's not how it worked for my mom and dad, as both passed away near the end of the month, requiring us to pay that month's benefit back to SS. This seems to contradict the SS policy of paying benefits in arrears, which I can testify to since I just started getting benefits, having filed for and having earned them in July, but getting paid in August. No big deal though.

We also assumed that there would be a death benefit of $255, but not so. A death benefit is only payable to a spouse or a child who is eligible to file on the deceased record (minor or disabled).

Bottom line is that you learn a lot about regulations and legal requirements when you need to settle the affairs of a loved one, most of it of a negative nature. I guess dying is like everything else we go through. Everyone (all agencies) want their piece of the pie. Thankfully, our family isn't overly susceptible to greed. I've witnessed some pretty ugly behavior in other families that was never anticipated.

Thank you all for your thoughtful replies.

mouses
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by mouses » Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:36 am

You sound very organized. That and keeping the beneficiaries informed are important.

I would not devote too much time to trying to get rid of and paid for the cemetery niches. Unless for some reason they are more valuable than they are in my location.

Dottie57
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by Dottie57 » Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:46 am

Keep working on the Deferred annuity. Contact state Attorney general and state office for Insurance if problems continue.

And sorry for your loss.

vested1
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by vested1 » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:01 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 1:31 pm
Good luck on recovering payment for cemetery plots. My in-law's bought 6 spaces with her sister and husband many years ago. The intent, never documented, was for each to use 3 spaces (pretty funny since SIL had 2 kids and would need 4 spaces, vs. my in-law's needing 3 spaces.

SIL, husband and a daughter passed years ago, used their 3 spaces. 1 of my in-law's spaces used for a brother. 2 spaces left.

FIL learns of free burial in national cemeteries for veterans (WWII) and elects to do that. Suggests that we give the two plots to remaining child of SIL, who is in his 60s. DW declines.

In-laws pass away, we contact cemetery, provide proof of ownership. They require that son of SIL sign away his right, he hasn't responded to requests. They advise that market for resale is very limited, and they have plenty of space so no interest in rebuying plots.

I've done 2 full estates, 1 partial (MIL to FIL). What a PITA, even with one heir. My father died intestate, and out of state, even more fun.

Best wishes.
Indeed. I don't hold out much hope, as my mother bought a plot decades ago in a different local cemetery for 3k, which they refuse to refund to the estate.

My MIL spent $6,700 on a niche to place her ashes, along with her husband's and her sister's. This was long ago, and before she decided, near her death, to scatter the ashes together in the ocean. Even if we were going to go ahead with interring the ashes in the niche, there were other charges that I discovered would need to be paid.

- $750 to open or close the niche for every instance.
- $350 x 3 for the only urn the city cemetery would accept (they sell them).
- $650 x 3 for required plaques, of the city's design that only the city is allowed to install.
- $1,600 one time "Endowment Care" fee for dusting off the niche space occasionally I assume.

That's $5,350 no one was counting on. If the city approves a refund of the original niche charge, it will only refund 75% ($1,675 to delete a name from a ledger).

I consulted the siblings before sitting down with the mortuary director. They wanted the simplest (cheapest) treatment for her cremation, which was a bit over $2,000 with the death certificates. You can't believe the up-sell attempts, with videos and brochures of $$$$$ caskets that you will never see because they will be burned up, or jewelry that can contain ashes so you can carry your loved one with you wherever you go, and on and on. After hearing a multitude of "no" responses the director finally got it, and said that State law requires a container for cremation, and $175 was their cheapest option, which gave you a cardboard box, "but you could get a paper pillow for an additional $100". None of the other siblings were subjected to the implication of cheapness that my wife and I had to endure at that meeting.

bayview
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by bayview » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:39 am

Good library reads: Jessica Mitford’s “The American Way of Death” and her updated “The American Way of Death Revisited,” the latter published posthumously. (They deal with the funeral industry, not the overall issues mentioned in the OP.)
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:49 am

- Annuity company notification with forms to fill out by all siblings and one death certificate sent. Ongoing (1/4 of original) payments to 4 siblings for 7 more years. This deferred annuity was a surprise that began disbursement two years ago, and they refuse to send us a contract even though my wife has full POA and is executor of the trust. The annuity company has been difficult and we may need to get her lawyer involved.
As you probably know, POA ends with the death of the person who granted it.

Usually "executor" is for the estate, has your wife been named executor, gotten letters testamentary?. For a trust, you would have a trustee. Who was the owner and beneficiary of the annuity?

Dottie57
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by Dottie57 » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:53 am

vested1 wrote:
Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:23 am
pshonore wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:28 pm
Sorry for your loss. Her July payment from SS was her benefit for the month of June and she was entitled to that. Since she did not live for the entire month of July, any payment received in August should be returned
That's not how it worked for my mom and dad, as both passed away near the end of the month, requiring us to pay that month's benefit back to SS. This seems to contradict the SS policy of paying benefits in arrears, which I can testify to since I just started getting benefits, having filed for and having earned them in July, but getting paid in August. No big deal though.

We also assumed that there would be a death benefit of $255, but not so. A death benefit is only payable to a spouse or a child who is eligible to file on the deceased record (minor or disabled).

Bottom line is that you learn a lot about regulations and legal requirements when you need to settle the affairs of a loved one, most of it of a negative nature. I guess dying is like everything else we go through. Everyone (all agencies) want their piece of the pie. Thankfully, our family isn't overly susceptible to greed. I've witnessed some pretty ugly behavior in other families that was never anticipated.

Thank you all for your thoughtful replies.
My dad died on the 4th of the month. He had been paid in checking on the 3rd of the month. Nothing was taken back. There was a death benefit paid to my mom. The funeral home took care of notification of SS office.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:09 am

Also check her state's unclaimed funds website. If there was uncertainty over her tax filing there may be other accounts out there that have been forgotten. Actually, it's a good idea to check that every few years anyway.

daveydoo
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by daveydoo » Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:11 pm

vested1 wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:13 am
...I've found that regardless of my good intentions, emotions run high at times, and motives are questioned...
This is influenced by the fact that it's your wife, not you, who is the blood relative, imo. I think this arrangement invites suspicion and many families would not be comfortable with it.

So sorry about your MIL. You may have some remarkable expertise but it's best, imo, if your wife or another interested and/or capable sibling of hers were to take the lead.
"I mean, it's one banana, Michael...what could it cost? Ten dollars?"

vested1
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by vested1 » Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:12 pm

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:49 am
- Annuity company notification with forms to fill out by all siblings and one death certificate sent. Ongoing (1/4 of original) payments to 4 siblings for 7 more years. This deferred annuity was a surprise that began disbursement two years ago, and they refuse to send us a contract even though my wife has full POA and is executor of the trust. The annuity company has been difficult and we may need to get her lawyer involved.
As you probably know, POA ends with the death of the person who granted it.

Usually "executor" is for the estate, has your wife been named executor, gotten letters testamentary?. For a trust, you would have a trustee. Who was the owner and beneficiary of the annuity?
My MIL was the owner, and my wife and her three siblings are the beneficiaries. They had a trust (wife's mom and dad, both now deceased), with my wife and her brother as trustees. The annuity company did mention they would need letters of testamentary to release the contract but also said that if any of the beneficiaries had a copy of the contract (which they don't) it needed to be returned to the company. I doubt it's worth it to pay for the additional legal filing, but it would be nice to know the terms of the annuity.

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Kenkat
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by Kenkat » Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:23 pm

It is a lot to deal with and it takes awhile to get everything unwound. Organization is key - when my in-laws passed in the same year, we made a list of everything that had to be addressed, checked status and sent out periodic updates to family. It eventually all gets finished.

For the annuity, it sounds like the annuity company is paying out the balance of the contract per the original terms; I am not really sure why you need a copy of the contract. Is it worth getting a lawyer involved on the very small chance that the annuity company is not paying out the contract correctly? Annuities and the companies that offer them are highly regulated and in general want to honor the terms of the contracts - they have built their reputation on that.

I would not pay out anything to other heirs until you have been reimbursed. For example, if the final expenses will be $20,000 and you have to front some of that, I would not distribute proceeds from the sale of the condo or from checking or other accounts until you are reimbursed. Of course, accounts with named beneficiaries will be paid out, but for accounts that are in the estate, you are under no obligation to pay anything out until the assets are settled. Communication is key though - tell siblings final expenses will cost x; ideally they should all kick in and cover a portion and be reimbursed, but if not, provide a full accounting and periodic updates.

Good luck, it will all get done.

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AllieTB1323
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by AllieTB1323 » Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:24 pm

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:09 am
Also check her state's unclaimed funds website. If there was uncertainty over her tax filing there may be other accounts out there that have been forgotten. Actually, it's a good idea to check that every few years anyway.

I'm sorry for your family's loss.

Excellent suggestion, we found both my mom/step father and my FIL had fairly large amounts of money sitting at the state's unclaimed property site.

vested1
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by vested1 » Sat Aug 11, 2018 4:57 pm

daveydoo wrote:
Sat Aug 11, 2018 12:11 pm
vested1 wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:13 am
...I've found that regardless of my good intentions, emotions run high at times, and motives are questioned...
This is influenced by the fact that it's your wife, not you, who is the blood relative, imo. I think this arrangement invites suspicion and many families would not be comfortable with it.

So sorry about your MIL. You may have some remarkable expertise but it's best, imo, if your wife or another interested and/or capable sibling of hers were to take the lead.
In a perfect world, I would more than happy to take this route. However, past experience with dealing with her care eliminates this option. They are all grateful now, but occasionally emotion gets the better of either one of the men.

vested1
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by vested1 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:50 am

Update: Making progress on all fronts, but some agencies have put up what I consider unreasonable roadblocks to getting all affairs settled.

For instance:

The city cemetery wants notarized forms filled out by my wife, and a $180 transfer fee for the niche before they will consider buying it back for 35% of the cost. They also demand a copy of the trust, which my mil's lawyer laughed at and told us not to provide.

Her Medicare supplemental and Part D provider, UHC, said they would send forms for my wife to fill out to authorize the end of premium payments and the refund of August premiums. I had sent them a death certificate already. What we got instead was a demand for Letters of Testamentary and/or Letters of Administration to release information we never asked for. When I called and basically threatened to involve her lawyer they suddenly got very helpful and will refund the premiums to the same checking account they were drawn from. We also got a confusing letter from them talking about Railroad Retirement benefits, and a refund for those, which she never had nor was eligible for.

We were curious about the annuity contract, but they demand Letters of Testamentary to send a copy as well, so we gave up on that one. If anyone knows what Letters of Testamentary are please respond. We have already paid the lawyer a considerable amount and don't want to add to that if possible.

vested1
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by vested1 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:07 am

BTW, the city cemetery's website was outdated, so the costs were inaccurate, as well as their policy for the possibility of selling back the niche to the city. They took no responsibility for the inaccuracies. They will consider buying the niche back for 35% of the current cost ($6,300) or $2,205, which is the most they will pay, stating that "negotiations" start there, and only if the city manager approves of going forward. They would also insist on being the go between on a private sale, getting their slice of the pie for changing a name on a paper ledger. Disgusting.

It turns out that my mil already paid the "endowment" fee (non-existing upkeep for the niche), which in non-refundable, and which no doubt will be charged to the new owner, if any.

Gill
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by Gill » Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:20 am

vested1 wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:50 am
If anyone knows what Letters of Testamentary are please respond. We have already paid the lawyer a considerable amount and don't want to add to that if possible.
If there has been a personal representative (executor) appointed, Letters Testamentary are simply a document issued by the court certifying the appointment of the person or entity as the PR. They serve as proof that the PR is authorized to act on behalf of the estate. Perhaps there has not been a PR appointed in this estate in which case you wouldn't have the document.
Gill
Last edited by Gill on Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:21 am

From LegalZoom
The legal definition of a letter of testamentary is a legal document issued by a probate court that gives an executor the power to act in a fiduciary manner on behalf of the estate. You present the letter of testamentary along with the death certificate when you handle estate business to show that you have the authority to act on the estate's behalf.
https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/what ... stamentary

I'm surprised your wife does not have this yet.

Gill
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by Gill » Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:23 am

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:21 am
I'm surprised your wife does not have this yet.
There is no indication that a PR has been appointed.
Gill

Gill
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by Gill » Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:29 am

vested1 wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:13 am
...and they refuse to send us a contract even though my wife has full POA and is executor of the trust. The annuity company has been difficult and we may need to get her lawyer involved.
The POA is meaningless at this point as is the fact she is trustee (not executor) of the trust. Aren't you able to find this contract in the decedent's papers? You seem to know this is now payable to the four siblings. Haven't they been able to obtain a copy?
Gill

vested1
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by vested1 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:47 am

Gill wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:29 am
vested1 wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:13 am
...and they refuse to send us a contract even though my wife has full POA and is executor of the trust. The annuity company has been difficult and we may need to get her lawyer involved.
The POA is meaningless at this point as is the fact she is trustee (not executor) of the trust. Aren't you able to find this contract in the decedent's papers? You seem to know this is now payable to the four siblings. Haven't they been able to obtain a copy?
Gill
We have to meet with the lawyer at least one more time when we receive a certain document back from SS, at which time we will ask about the PR, which I'm pretty sure my wife is, since she is the trustee and the executor.

As for the annuity, my mil either lost the contract or never had it. She had one piece of paper that identified the account number, and the amount of the single premium paid. The annuity will pay out 1/4 of the monthly benefit to each of the four siblings until June of 2025. My wife and her 3 siblings had to fill out forms that were sent to them by the annuity company, choosing the tax treatment and whether or not to get a check or direct deposit.

The only aspect I could figure out was the amount paid out from June of 2015 to June of 2025 of $581 a month. She bought the annuity in 1995, so it was deferred for 20 years, and as stated before, was a surprise to all of us. The total payout will be $69,720 on an initial premium of $48,000. The annuity company knew who the four beneficiaries were and knew their addresses, which was odd since some had moved since 1995. They will only deal with each individual beneficiary and refuse to provide a contract, which is likely not worth pursuing. A lump sum is not an option according to the annuity company, although we have to take their word for it.

Only the gain portion of the benefit is taxable, and we chose to have the entire taxable amount go toward State and federal taxes for simplicity sake.

vested1
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by vested1 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:58 am

To be clear, my wife is trustee of the trust and executor of the will.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:08 am

She may be named executor in the will, but has the will been filed with the probate court, and has the court recognized her as such?

Gill
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by Gill » Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:24 am

vested1 wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:58 am
To be clear, my wife is trustee of the trust and executor of the will.
Has she actually been appointed executor by the court or is she simply named in the will? If she is appointed you would have letters testamentary.
Gill

vested1
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by vested1 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:11 pm

Gill wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:24 am
vested1 wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:58 am
To be clear, my wife is trustee of the trust and executor of the will.
Has she actually been appointed executor by the court or is she simply named in the will? If she is appointed you would have letters testamentary.
Gill
The trust is recorded by the court with my wife being primary trustee and her brother secondary in case she is unable to perform her duties. Under "Powers of Trustee" she has "Standard Trustee Powers and Administrative Provisions" This is under Exhibit A and I suppose would serve as a Letter of Administration, although it isn't titled as such, but is detailed quite extensively with numerous sections and 10 pages in length. Her powers appear to be absolute.

The included will names my wife as executor, with the same brother being named as secondary in case she can't perform her duties. That being said, there is nothing left in the will or trust of any value, which makes these hoops we have to jump through to settle her insurance, get a copy of the annuity contract, and deal with the cemetery a PITA. In comparison, her inherited pension and SS have been a breeze to deal with. There is nothing titled "Letters Testamentary" in the trust/will documents..

Her condo is in a Life Estate, having been removed from the trust legally some years ago, with 1/4 ownership each for the four children (my wife and her three siblings).

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FIREchief
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by FIREchief » Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:32 pm

vested1 wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:58 am
To be clear, my wife is trustee of the trust and executor of the will.
As two other posters have said, she's not executor until appointed by the court. She may be "nominated" by the will, but that has no legal standing when it comes to dealing with other entities.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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FIREchief
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by FIREchief » Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:35 pm

vested1 wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:11 pm
The trust is recorded by the court with my wife being primary trustee and her brother secondary in case she is unable to perform her duties.
I've never heard of a trust being "recorded by the court." Does this make any sense to anybody?
There is nothing titled "Letters Testamentary" in the trust/will documents..
That is because they are issued by the court after a will has been properly filed and a judge has appointed an executor.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

psteinx
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by psteinx » Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:43 pm

vested1 wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:47 am
The only aspect I could figure out was the amount paid out from June of 2015 to June of 2025 of $581 a month. She bought the annuity in 1995, so it was deferred for 20 years, and as stated before, was a surprise to all of us. The total payout will be $69,720 on an initial premium of $48,000.
By my calculations, the IRR on this thing is/was about 1.5%.

In mid 1995, 10 year Treasuries were around 6.2%. (source: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GS10)
30 year Treasuries were around 6.6%. (source: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GS30)

Possibly there were other benefits to this annuity*, but at casual analysis, it does not appear to have been very good...

* IIUC, there's some tax deferral for a typical annuity, but that seems relatively small potatoes in comparison to the interest rate spreads above...

(I made minor edit(s))

donall
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by donall » Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:23 pm

If there are listed beneficiaries on accounts, assets such as the house are titled in the trust (or in your case in the names of the 4 children), and the will refers to the trust as the guiding document (pour over will) there ie no need to go through probate. You can probably just use a small estate affidavit for miscelaneous items.

vested1
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by vested1 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:28 pm

psteinx wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:43 pm
vested1 wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:47 am
The only aspect I could figure out was the amount paid out from June of 2015 to June of 2025 of $581 a month. She bought the annuity in 1995, so it was deferred for 20 years, and as stated before, was a surprise to all of us. The total payout will be $69,720 on an initial premium of $48,000.
By my calculations, the IRR on this thing is/was about 1.5%.

In mid 1995, 10 year Treasuries were around 6.2%. (source: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GS10)
30 year Treasuries were around 6.6%. (source: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/GS30)

Possibly there were other benefits to this annuity*, but at casual analysis, it does not appear to have been very good...

* IIUC, there's some tax deferral for a typical annuity, but that seems relatively small potatoes in comparison to the interest rate spreads above...

(I made minor edit(s))
That interest rate is what I got as well. She purchased the annuity the year after her husband died, and was apparently ripe for the plucking. Maybe if we would have known about it we could have cautioned her to do something else. As to other benefits of the annuity I don't know of any. A small amount of State and federal taxes were taken out from the moment the first benefit check arrived in 2015.

As for the comments by others about legal matters concerning the trust and will, I don't claim to have any expertise, but future conversations with her lawyer may better inform me.

vested1
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by vested1 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:34 pm

donall wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:23 pm
If there are listed beneficiaries on accounts, assets such as the house are titled in the trust (or in your case in the names of the 4 children), and the will refers to the trust as the guiding document (pour over will) there ie no need to go through probate. You can probably just use a small estate affidavit for miscelaneous items.
The condo is not in the trust, but rather in a Life Estate. My wife signed a notarized statement which was written by my mil's lawyer after her mother's death, and an affidavit was filed with the court to remove her mother from the deed. A Life Estate in California is contingent on the desire for the original owner (my MIL) to return to her home in the future if possible. She spent her last 4 years in a skilled nursing facility.

There will be no need for probate according to her lawyer.

Dottie57
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by Dottie57 » Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:57 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:35 pm
vested1 wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:11 pm
The trust is recorded by the court with my wife being primary trustee and her brother secondary in case she is unable to perform her duties.
I've never heard of a trust being "recorded by the court." Does this make any sense to anybody?
There is nothing titled "Letters Testamentary" in the trust/will documents..
That is because they are issued by the court after a will has been properly filed and a judge has appointed an executor.
My trust was recorded in the county I live in. It was created 6years ago. I am in Minnesota.
Last edited by Dottie57 on Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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FIREchief
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by FIREchief » Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:00 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:57 pm
FIREchief wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:35 pm
vested1 wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:11 pm
The trust is recorded by the court with my wife being primary trustee and her brother secondary in case she is unable to perform her duties.
I've never heard of a trust being "recorded by the court." Does this make any sense to anybody?
There is nothing titled "Letters Testamentary" in the trust/will documents..
That is because they are issued by the court after a will has been properly filed and a judge has appointed an executor.
My trust was recorded in the county I live in. It was created 6years ago.
That's interesting. I thought one of the benefits of a trust was that it would not be entered into court records, and therefore not become public information.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:15 pm

vested1 wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:34 pm
donall wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:23 pm
If there are listed beneficiaries on accounts, assets such as the house are titled in the trust (or in your case in the names of the 4 children), and the will refers to the trust as the guiding document (pour over will) there ie no need to go through probate. You can probably just use a small estate affidavit for miscelaneous items.
The condo is not in the trust, but rather in a Life Estate. My wife signed a notarized statement which was written by my mil's lawyer after her mother's death, and an affidavit was filed with the court to remove her mother from the deed. A Life Estate in California is contingent on the desire for the original owner (my MIL) to return to her home in the future if possible. She spent her last 4 years in a skilled nursing facility.

There will be no need for probate according to her lawyer.
I don't think the condo is "in a Life Estate", but that your MIL had transferred ownership of the condo to her 4 children, but retained a Life Estate, or lifetime rights to live in the condo. Even though she lived elsewhere. So now that she has died, her 4 children now own it but it wouldn't need to go through probate.

Were there accounts in the trust from which to pay funeral expenses, or did someone have to front that money and will need to have it paid back from, well, I don't know from where?

Gill
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by Gill » Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:18 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:00 pm
That's interesting. I thought one of the benefits of a trust was that it would not be entered into court records, and therefore not become public information.
It is a bit unusual to record a revocable living trust, but there instances where it's done, usually in connection with passing title to real estate.
Gill

Gill
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by Gill » Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:21 pm

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:15 pm
I don't think the condo is "in a Life Estate", but that your MIL had transferred ownership of the condo to her 4 children, but retained a Life Estate, or lifetime rights to live in the condo. Even though she lived elsewhere. So now that she has died, her 4 children now own it but it wouldn't need to go through probate.
That's correct, The life estate is, in effect, self terminating. She transferred the real estate subject to retaining the right to use it for life. Upon her death her interest is extinguished and the only formality to complete the matter is to record a death certificate.
Gill

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:25 pm

So OP's wife being executor, trustee, or anything else does not give her or him authority to sell the condo, right? Since all 4 siblings own it, all 4 have to agree to any sale, and all 4 would have to sign off on any sales contract, right? Now that sounds like a real mess. If it were owned by the trust than the trustee could handle it alone, if it were owned by the estate then the executor/executrix could handle it alone, but since it is jointly owned by 4 individuals then they all have to handle it together.

cherijoh
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by cherijoh » Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:33 pm

Gill wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:29 am
vested1 wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:13 am
...and they refuse to send us a contract even though my wife has full POA and is executor of the trust. The annuity company has been difficult and we may need to get her lawyer involved.
The POA is meaningless at this point as is the fact she is trustee (not executor) of the trust. Aren't you able to find this contract in the decedent's papers? You seem to know this is now payable to the four siblings. Haven't they been able to obtain a copy?
Gill
My late mother had a revocable "living" trust and the documents referred to my brother and I as "successor trustees" rather than executors. I think terminology can vary state to state.

Gill
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by Gill » Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:37 pm

cherijoh wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:33 pm
Gill wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:29 am
vested1 wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:13 am
...and they refuse to send us a contract even though my wife has full POA and is executor of the trust. The annuity company has been difficult and we may need to get her lawyer involved.
The POA is meaningless at this point as is the fact she is trustee (not executor) of the trust. Aren't you able to find this contract in the decedent's papers? You seem to know this is now payable to the four siblings. Haven't they been able to obtain a copy?
Gill
My late mother had a revocable "living" trust and the documents referred to my brother and I as "successor trustees" rather than executors. I think terminology can vary state to state.
There is never an executor of a trust.
Gill

Gill
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by Gill » Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:39 pm

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:25 pm
So OP's wife being executor, trustee, or anything else does not give her or him authority to sell the condo, right? Since all 4 siblings own it, all 4 have to agree to any sale, and all 4 would have to sign off on any sales contract, right? Now that sounds like a real mess. If it were owned by the trust than the trustee could handle it alone, if it were owned by the estate then the executor/executrix could handle it alone, but since it is jointly owned by 4 individuals then they all have to handle it together.
The four children would now hold the remainder interest in the realty, normally as tenants in common. The executor and trustee would not be involved.
Gill

afan
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by afan » Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:06 pm

Even if probate is not required it may be worth having your wife appointed as executor. Since the Letters Testamentary are a court action I found that they opened doors when wrapping up the one estate I settled. Companies do not want to be responsible for deciding to whom to give information about someone they have been told is dead. But if a tells them that your wife is the official person entitled to act for the estate then they are off the hook.
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FIREchief
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by FIREchief » Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:15 pm

Unfortunately, I believe that once a court issues letters testamentary, then all assets in the probate estate must pass through the formal probate process, and any informal affidavit process that would otherwise be available can no longer be used. Gill?? Bruce?? Other experts?? Is that correct?
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

Gill
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by Gill » Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:47 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 7:15 pm
Unfortunately, I believe that once a court issues letters testamentary, then all assets in the probate estate must pass through the formal probate process, and any informal affidavit process that would otherwise be available can no longer be used. Gill?? Bruce?? Other experts?? Is that correct?
Yes, I believe that’s true. The probate administration would substitute for the more informal procedure that most states allow. I don’t believe you can ever have both procedures being used in the same estate. State laws vary but I believe this would be universally true.
Gill

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FIREchief
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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by FIREchief » Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:02 pm

Thanks Gill. That's what I thought. Possibly all the more reason to get that "last little bit" into a living trust, as reliance upon an informal affidavit process may not be possible if a person will need to be formally appointed executor to deal with any other issues. I'm not sure what those might be, but to afan's point there are some entities that may only deal with a formally appointed executor.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.

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Re: Post Mortem Settlement

Post by bsteiner » Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:52 pm

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:25 pm
So OP's wife being executor, trustee, or anything else does not give her or him authority to sell the condo, right? Since all 4 siblings own it, all 4 have to agree to any sale, and all 4 would have to sign off on any sales contract, right? Now that sounds like a real mess. If it were owned by the trust than the trustee could handle it alone, if it were owned by the estate then the executor/executrix could handle it alone, but since it is jointly owned by 4 individuals then they all have to handle it together.
It can indeed be a mess. We’re litigating two such cases now.

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