I received a call this month from a man who wanted to  receive his share of his father’s building. The property had a value of approximately $4MM. There were 5 children in total, 2 from father’s first marriage (one of whom was this client) and 3 from father’ second marriage.  The caller could not understand why, after the death of his father, the property was being listed for sale by his 3 half-siblings without any input from him.

After I looked up the ownership of the property, I had to tell him the unpleasant truth: He will not get a penny from the sale of this real estate.

Continue Reading Be very careful about titling assets – you could disinherit your children!

According to the most recent data from Credit.com, 73% of consumers had outstanding debt when they were reported as dead, with the average total balance of $62K. Debts included home loans, credit cards, auto loans, personal loans and student loans.

An estate is responsible to pay the deceased person’s debts. If there is sufficient money, the creditors get paid first, and the beneficiaries receive whatever remains.

Continue Reading Are Heirs Responsible for Decedent’s Debts?

An Executor is the person named in the Will who ensures that deceased person’s wishes are carried out after death, that all the assets are found, that all the debts are paid and all the money is distributed according to deceased person’s wishes.

Responsibilities: The duties of an executor include: finding the Will, hiring a probate lawyer to put together a probate petition (including getting all the signatures from all the necessary parties), filing the petition and the Will with the court in order to be appointed as an Executor by the court, appearing in court (if necessary), notifying credit cards companies and banks about death, setting up an estate bank account, filing an inventory of assets with the court, carrying out the wishes of the decedent (including selling the real estate and other assets, if necessary), paying all the necessary income and estate taxes, and distributing the assets to the beneficiaries.  

Who should you name: as you can see, the probate process can be long and complex. The executor should be someone responsible and capable of handling such a task. Usually people name relatives or friends, because they know that the person will carry out their wishes.

Continue Reading Executor of your Will: who should be named and what are his responsibilities?