SS and Trust distributions problem

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hoops777
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SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by hoops777 »

My brother passed the first week of Oct 2019. His last SS check was in September.
I sent a claim to SS on Jan 3.They mailed it back on this last Monday,9 months later, with a stamp of Jan 23 on it.
They say I need a certified copy of letter of appointment and nothing else will do.
My estate attorney says there is no letter because there is no probate.
I have the final 20 pct of his estate to distribute which I want to do now.
SS has never even confirmed they owe him a check and will not talk to me.
My lawyer suggested I put my own money into the estate and do the final distribution and reimburse myself when SS sends the check.
Who knows how long this will take considering the way SS has performed so far.
My wife will be quite upset if I put any money in the estate.
I am ok with doing nothing and just closing it out. By doing nothing,I mean distribute the final 20 pct and forget about the last SS check.
Any advice??
Last edited by hoops777 on Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.
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FIREchief
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by FIREchief »

hoops777 wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 11:23 pm My brother passed the first week of Oct 2019. His last SS check was in September.
I sent a claim to SS on Jan 3.They mailed it back on this last Monday,9 months later, with a stamp of Jan 23 on it.
They say I need a letter of certification and nothing else will do.
My estate attorney says there is no letter because there is no probate.
I have the final 20 pct of his estate to distribute which I want to do now.
SS has never even confirmed they owe him a check and will not talk to me.
My lawyer suggested I put my own money into the estate and do the final distribution and reimburse myself when SS sends the check.
Who knows how long this will take considering the way SS has performed so far.
My wife will be quite upset if I put any money in the estate.
I am ok with doing nothing and just closing it out.
Any advice??
Are you sure that SS pays a check for the month of death?
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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celia
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by celia »

Your post is quite terse. Let’s expand it so we can understand the situation.
hoops777 wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 11:23 pm My brother passed the first week of Oct 2019. His last SS check was in September.
I sent a claim to SS on Jan 3.They mailed it back on this last Monday,9 months later, with a stamp of Jan 23 on it.
A claim for what? Weren’t you aware SS was closed due to covid but some employees are answering the phone while working from home?
They say I need a letter of certification and nothing else will do.
Certification of what?
My estate attorney says there is no letter because there is no probate.
I have the final 20 pct of his estate to distribute which I want to do now.
What is your legal role in this? Are you recognized as an executor, trustee, representative, beneficiary?
SS has never even confirmed they owe him a check and will not talk to me.
Do you think SS should answer questions to anyone who calls up and asks those same questions? Maybe I should call...
My lawyer suggested I put my own money into the estate and do the final distribution and reimburse myself when SS sends the check.
What does your money have to do with anything?
Who knows how long this will take considering the way SS has performed so far.
How long will ‘what’ take?
My wife will be quite upset if I put any money in the estate.
Possibly your wife is as confused as I am. There’s not enough info to know what the topic of this thread is, except it is something to do with your deceased brother.
I am ok with doing nothing and just closing it out.
Any advice??
I am ok with you doing nothing, but then why did you even post? We can’t help if we can’t understand the situation. Could you explain it again in a different way?
BarbBrooklyn
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by BarbBrooklyn »

Are you attempting to claim the one time death benefit?
Did you send SS the death certificate?

https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/index.html?topic=Survivors. This seems to indicate that the death benefit is paid to a surviving spouse, not to any other family member.

If your brother died in October, he is not owed a SS payment for October. September was his last legitimate SS check.
BarbBrooklyn | "The enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."
andypanda
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by andypanda »

"A surviving spouse or child may receive a special lump-sum death payment of $255 if they meet certain requirements."

Scroll to the bottom of www.ssa.gov/benefits/survivors/ifyou.html#h4
scifilover
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by scifilover »

https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10077.pdf

At the top of page 11, it says that there is no benefit paid for the month of death.
clemrick
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by clemrick »

On what legal basis are you acting in this matter? That is what Social Security wants to know.

You say there is an estate, but it didn't go through probate. Then you need to send whatever paperwork you have that gives you authority to act for your brother's estate. SS is expecting Letters Testimentary/Administration or something similar that are part of the probate process and gives the representative authority to take care of the deceased affairs.
pshonore
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by pshonore »

scifilover wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 7:33 am https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10077.pdf

At the top of page 11, it says that there is no benefit paid for the month of death.
Tha'ts correct but SS is paid in arrears, If he was alive at midnight on 9/30 he is entitled to his Sept benefit which is paid in October.
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HueyLD
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by HueyLD »

The OP’s brother received a SS payment in September, so he was alive for all of August.

He died in October, so he was alive for all of September.

Therefore, he should have received his September benefit in October.

However, he didn’t, which seems to be the problem.

P.s. He was not alive all 31 days in October, so he should not have received a payment in November, and he didn’t.
bsteiner
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by bsteiner »

Here's what the Social Security website says: https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-1724.html.
Topic Author
hoops777
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by hoops777 »

Sorry about the letter of certification error.
They said I need to submit a certified copy of my letter of appointment to be a legal representative of my brother’s estate.Power of attorney or copy of his will are not sufficient.

My attorney said there is none because there is no probate.

I thought it was clear I was speaking about my brother’s last monthly SS benefit check.

Thanks.
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.
Topic Author
hoops777
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by hoops777 »

HueyLD wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 8:17 am The OP’s brother received a SS payment in September, so he was alive for all of August.

He died in October, so he was alive for all of September.

Therefore, he should have received his September benefit in October.

However, he didn’t, which seems to be the problem.

P.s. He was not alive all 31 days in October, so he should not have received a payment in November, and he didn’t.
Thank you. His last SS check was in September. He did not receive one in October.
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.
petulant
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by petulant »

Why aren't you getting advice from your attorney?
Topic Author
hoops777
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by hoops777 »

petulant wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 10:56 am Why aren't you getting advice from your attorney?
The advice was put 1800 dollars into the trust,make the distributions and reimburse myself when SS mails the final check,probably sometime in 2022.( my guess)
As I said,they will not even confirm they owe the money.
I would prefer to just distribute what is left in his trust. If I do that the trust will be left open probably another year based on how SS is operating and would then mail out checks to 10 people from the 1800 dollars SS eventually sends,if they do.
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.
123
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by 123 »

Since you have not been formally appointed by a court as a representative of the estate and you are not in one of the other categories of individuals qualified for receipt of an underpayment listed on the SSA-1724 https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-1724.pdf it would seem that the underpayment cannot be paid to you.

You should distribute the remaining balence of the estate and consider it closed.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.
petulant
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by petulant »

hoops777 wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:10 am
petulant wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 10:56 am Why aren't you getting advice from your attorney?
The advice was put 1800 dollars into the trust,make the distributions and reimburse myself when SS mails the final check,probably sometime in 2022.( my guess)
As I said,they will not even confirm they owe the money.
I would prefer to just distribute what is left in his trust. If I do that the trust will be left open probably another year based on how SS is operating and would then mail out checks to 10 people from the 1800 dollars SS eventually sends,if they do.
It sounds like instead of representing the estate, you are a trustee of a trust that contains all of the assets previously owned by the deceased. You are trying to distribute the assets from the trust so you can then terminate it. In that case, the trust does not have a right to the last SS payment or any other asset in the deceased's name. Generally what you would need is a legal process to transfer those assets to the trust. Without a will or probate, that is not possible.

If the relative does not have a will, then remaining assets like the right to receive the last SS payment would be distributed to intestacy heirs--that is, default heirs selected by the laws of your state. However, to get the assets and distribute them, you would need to be the personal representative. There might be streamlined provisions for that through a small estate statute.

You should have an estate attorney whose advice makes sense and that you can rely on. If you are administering the trust and the lawyer is telling you to put money in and then keep money in the future without confirming the trust's rights to assets, that is strange advice. I would get another lawyer.
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hoops777
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by hoops777 »

123 wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:36 am Since you have not been formally appointed by a court as a representative of the estate and you are not in one of the other categories of individuals qualified for receipt of an underpayment listed on the SSA-1724 https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-1724.pdf it would seem that the underpayment cannot be paid to you.

You should distribute the remaining balence of the estate and consider it closed.
So my brother has a trust. I am executer of his trust and his trust is not qualified to receive funds from SS that are owed him? Wow.
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.
Topic Author
hoops777
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by hoops777 »

petulant wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:37 am
hoops777 wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:10 am
petulant wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 10:56 am Why aren't you getting advice from your attorney?
The advice was put 1800 dollars into the trust,make the distributions and reimburse myself when SS mails the final check,probably sometime in 2022.( my guess)
As I said,they will not even confirm they owe the money.
I would prefer to just distribute what is left in his trust. If I do that the trust will be left open probably another year based on how SS is operating and would then mail out checks to 10 people from the 1800 dollars SS eventually sends,if they do.
It sounds like instead of representing the estate, you are a trustee of a trust that contains all of the assets previously owned by the deceased. You are trying to distribute the assets from the trust so you can then terminate it. In that case, the trust does not have a right to the last SS payment or any other asset in the deceased's name. Generally what you would need is a legal process to transfer those assets to the trust. Without a will or probate, that is not possible.

If the relative does not have a will, then remaining assets like the right to receive the last SS payment would be distributed to intestacy heirs--that is, default heirs selected by the laws of your state. However, to get the assets and distribute them, you would need to be the personal representative. There might be streamlined provisions for that through a small estate statute.

You should have an estate attorney whose advice makes sense and that you can rely on. If you are administering the trust and the lawyer is telling you to put money in and then keep money in the future without confirming the trust's rights to assets, that is strange advice. I would get another lawyer.
Thank you. Sounds like it is time to distribute the final 20 pct and call it a day.
It is definitely not worth the incredible bureaucratic catastrophe that awaits for a small amount of money to be divided 10 ways.
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.
Topic Author
hoops777
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by hoops777 »

celia wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:03 am Your post is quite terse. Let’s expand it so we can understand the situation.
hoops777 wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 11:23 pm My brother passed the first week of Oct 2019. His last SS check was in September.
I sent a claim to SS on Jan 3.They mailed it back on this last Monday,9 months later, with a stamp of Jan 23 on it.
A claim for what? Weren’t you aware SS was closed due to covid but some employees are answering the phone while working from home?
They say I need a letter of certification and nothing else will do.
Certification of what?
My estate attorney says there is no letter because there is no probate.
I have the final 20 pct of his estate to distribute which I want to do now.
What is your legal role in this? Are you recognized as an executor, trustee, representative, beneficiary?
SS has never even confirmed they owe him a check and will not talk to me.
Do you think SS should answer questions to anyone who calls up and asks those same questions? Maybe I should call...
My lawyer suggested I put my own money into the estate and do the final distribution and reimburse myself when SS sends the check.
What does your money have to do with anything?
Who knows how long this will take considering the way SS has performed so far.
How long will ‘what’ take?
My wife will be quite upset if I put any money in the estate.
Possibly your wife is as confused as I am. There’s not enough info to know what the topic of this thread is, except it is something to do with your deceased brother.
I am ok with doing nothing and just closing it out.
Any advice??
I am ok with you doing nothing, but then why did you even post? We can’t help if we can’t understand the situation. Could you explain it again in a different way?
Sorry to upset you so much with my post,but I am thankful that some others were able to decipher it.Nobody needs to be so terse.Hey,besides,why should I be annoyed that it took 9 months to send back a simple form that they received over 2 months before Covid hit?
Have a nice day.
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.
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anon_investor
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by anon_investor »

hoops777 wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:11 pm
123 wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:36 am Since you have not been formally appointed by a court as a representative of the estate and you are not in one of the other categories of individuals qualified for receipt of an underpayment listed on the SSA-1724 https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-1724.pdf it would seem that the underpayment cannot be paid to you.

You should distribute the remaining balence of the estate and consider it closed.
So my brother has a trust. I am executer of his trust and his trust is not qualified to receive funds from SS that are owed him? Wow.
Unfortunately that how it works, the trust is not the same as his estate. But that is why people have trusts, to avoid probate...
bsteiner
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by bsteiner »

Does his state have a small estate procedure? If so, that might work. If not, unless he was in a state where it's easy to probate a Will yourself, it may not be worth the effort to pursue this.
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hoops777
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by hoops777 »

California.
It actually seems overwhelming especially in these times.
Thanks.
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.
Topic Author
hoops777
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by hoops777 »

anon_investor wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:33 pm
hoops777 wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:11 pm
123 wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:36 am Since you have not been formally appointed by a court as a representative of the estate and you are not in one of the other categories of individuals qualified for receipt of an underpayment listed on the SSA-1724 https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-1724.pdf it would seem that the underpayment cannot be paid to you.

You should distribute the remaining balence of the estate and consider it closed.
So my brother has a trust. I am executer of his trust and his trust is not qualified to receive funds from SS that are owed him? Wow.
Unfortunately that how it works, the trust is not the same as his estate. But that is why people have trusts, to avoid probate...
Well we accomplished that. All he really had was his house which I sold in January so it all worked out.
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.
NotWhoYouThink
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by NotWhoYouThink »

OP, sounds like your work is at least mostly done. Does the trust need to file a tax return? If not, you can distribute the remaining funds.

Would you be a beneficiary of his estate if a small estate were opened to claim the last SS check? If not, you might let the beneficiaries know that they could go through that process to get a check, but otherwise we taxpayers will just keep the money and keep SS solvent for another millisecond or so.
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FIREchief
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by FIREchief »

How did SS know so quickly that this person had passed away? Is there an argument to be made, for those in similar situations, to wait until that final check arrives before notifying SS of the death?

Is this a problem in the very common scenario where there is a surviving spouse and no individually owned assets that would need to go through probate?
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.
Topic Author
hoops777
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by hoops777 »

FIREchief wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 4:00 pm How did SS know so quickly that this person had passed away? Is there an argument to be made, for those in similar situations, to wait until that final check arrives before notifying SS of the death?

Is this a problem in the very common scenario where there is a surviving spouse and no individually owned assets that would need to go through probate?
I know they new immediately because several institutions like banks told me that SS gets the info.
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.
Topic Author
hoops777
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by hoops777 »

NotWhoYouThink wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 3:28 pm OP, sounds like your work is at least mostly done. Does the trust need to file a tax return? If not, you can distribute the remaining funds.

Would you be a beneficiary of his estate if a small estate were opened to claim the last SS check? If not, you might let the beneficiaries know that they could go through that process to get a check, but otherwise we taxpayers will just keep the money and keep SS solvent for another millisecond or so.
His trust does need to file a return but there is no tax owed that I am aware of. I was told a return still had to be filed.

I will help keep SS solvent,so you are welcome :D
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.
earlyout
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by earlyout »

FIREchief wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 4:00 pm How did SS know so quickly that this person had passed away? Is there an argument to be made, for those in similar situations, to wait until that final check arrives before notifying SS of the death?

Is this a problem in the very common scenario where there is a surviving spouse and no individually owned assets that would need to go through probate?
I don't know if it varies from state to state but in Georgia the funeral home or crematorium reports deaths to SS and provides the death certificates. I handled the deaths of two relatives and in neither case did SS withhold the benefit for the last month. I wonder, in the OP's case, if perhaps the wrong date of death was reported. What date is on the death certificate?
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FIREchief
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by FIREchief »

earlyout wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 5:07 pm
FIREchief wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 4:00 pm How did SS know so quickly that this person had passed away? Is there an argument to be made, for those in similar situations, to wait until that final check arrives before notifying SS of the death?

Is this a problem in the very common scenario where there is a surviving spouse and no individually owned assets that would need to go through probate?
I don't know if it varies from state to state but in Georgia the funeral home or crematorium reports deaths to SS and provides the death certificates. I handled the deaths of two relatives and in neither case did SS withhold the benefit for the last month. I wonder, in the OP's case, if perhaps the wrong date of death was reported. What date is on the death certificate?
That makes sense. I'm guessing most SS recipients have direct deposit. If the bank shut down the decedent's account immediately I could see that being a problem. OTOH, if the trust owned the account, than I would hope it would remain open.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial advisor. Any advice or suggestions that I may provide shall be considered for entertainment purposes only.
SuzBanyan
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by SuzBanyan »

California has a procedure to allow collection of personal property of the decedent without opening probate and it appears that such procedure is accepted by the SSA to collect underpayment of benefits. The form needed is referenced here: https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0202315200.


I will note that the form is somewhat outdated as the amount of the estate can now be as high as $166,250, not $150,00 as stated in the form. Also, the estate for this purpose would not typically include anything that passed through the Trust. Hope this helps.
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hoops777
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Re: SS and Trust distributions problem

Post by hoops777 »

SuzBanyan wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 6:25 pm California has a procedure to allow collection of personal property of the decedent without opening probate and it appears that such procedure is accepted by the SSA to collect underpayment of benefits. The form needed is referenced here: https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0202315200.


I will note that the form is somewhat outdated as the amount of the estate can now be as high as $166,250, not $150,00 as stated in the form. Also, the estate for this purpose would not typically include anything that passed through the Trust. Hope this helps.
Thank you.I will check it out.
K.I.S.S........so easy to say so difficult to do.
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