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June 13, 2024

The Essential Steps After a Loved One’s Passing

The loss of a loved one is never easy. Sometimes, we feel relief that their suffering is over, and sometimes shock because we did not expect them to go so soon. The pain of loss dulls over time but is never truly gone. Unfortunately, when the pain is fresh is when we need to do all the “after” jobs.

The calls from my clients’ families always make me sad with them. “What do I need to do?” Fortunately, my clients have everything in order, so there isn’t too much left to do. My clients all have Trusts, and we have made sure that beneficiaries are named on all their accounts. Their estates will pass to their family easily.

There are things that need to be done. The county assessor needs to be notified of the death. (If you want to keep a home in the family, you need to file within 90 days). A notice with a copy of the Trust needs to be sent to all the family and any other person named in the Trust. The last bills need to be paid. The sentimental, valuable, and other things the loved one owned need to be divided up, given away, or discarded. (This may be the hardest job). Social Security is automatically notified, but others may need to be notified of the death.

Yes, administering a Trust requires some work. It is so much easier than Probate. Probate requires a lot more work: court filings, multiple notices, and typically the estate is tied up for 18 months to 2 years! Most Trust administrations are inexpensive (costs are mostly related to notices, property transfers, and getting receipts for property delivered). Probates have court fees, statutory attorney fees (and maybe even extraordinary attorney fees), executor fees, plus the cost of accounting.

Families who have been through both probate and Trust administration always tell me how glad they are that their loved one had a Trust; their job is so much easier. If you have a loved one who just passed away, give me a call. I am here to help you.

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Geisler Patterson Law


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