Estate Question


C

Chip Wood

Not sure this is the right place, but you all seem to know a lot of answers.

My wife prepaid the "assisted" care home for her mother and the Long
Term Care Ins reimbursed her with a check made out in my wife's name.
When her mother died recently that last LTC check was made out to the
"Estate of (her mother)", not to my wife. I assume the LTC insurer does
this to close their books on the contract. Fine, but the bank won't
accept the check for deposit. I really don't care if this is normal or
not, but how does she deposit a check for a dead person? BTW, my wife
is executioner named in the will. There really is no other "Estate"
besides a few personal things.

Chip
 
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D

Don

Not sure this is the right place, but you all seem to know a lot of answers.

My wife prepaid the "assisted" care home for her mother and the Long
Term Care Ins reimbursed her with a check made out in my wife's name.
When her mother died recently that last LTC check was made out to the
"Estate of (her mother)", not to my wife.  I assume the LTC insurer does
this to close their books on the contract.  Fine, but the bank won't
accept the check for deposit.  I really don't care if this is normal or
not, but how does she deposit a check for a dead person?  BTW, my wife
is executioner named in the will.  There really is no other "Estate"
besides a few personal things.

Chip
I do not know enough about the subject to answer your question, but I
am curious about the duties of an executioner as named in the will. As
an executioner, does your wife work in the USA prison system? At
first, I thought this might have something to do with the Middle East
and the Taliban, but I now realize that is silly. But I still cannot
figure out what it has to do with insurance and an estate in the USA.
 
R

Ron Rosenfeld

Not sure this is the right place, but you all seem to know a lot of answers.

My wife prepaid the "assisted" care home for her mother and the Long
Term Care Ins reimbursed her with a check made out in my wife's name.
When her mother died recently that last LTC check was made out to the
"Estate of (her mother)", not to my wife. I assume the LTC insurer does
this to close their books on the contract. Fine, but the bank won't
accept the check for deposit. I really don't care if this is normal or
not, but how does she deposit a check for a dead person? BTW, my wife
is executioner named in the will. There really is no other "Estate"
besides a few personal things.

Chip
Sorry to hear about your mother-in-law.

When my mom died a few years ago, with regard to the type of question you are asking, we needed to open an account in the name of "Estate of ...".

You can get a TIN from the IRS online almost instantly. If you have an attorney handling the estate, they should be able to give you further guidance.
 
A

AndyS

I do not know enough about the subject to answer your question, but I
am curious about the duties of an executioner as named in the will. As
an executioner, does your wife work in the USA prison system? At
first, I thought this might have something to do with the Middle East
and the Taliban, but I now realize that is silly. But I still cannot
figure out what it has to do with insurance and an estate in the USA.
I think you mean "executor"...... :>)))
 
M

Mark Freeland

Not sure this is the right place, but you all seem to know a lot of
answers.

My wife prepaid the "assisted" care home for her mother and the Long
Term Care Ins reimbursed her with a check made out in my wife's name.
When her mother died recently that last LTC check was made out to the
"Estate of (her mother)", not to my wife. I assume the LTC insurer does
this to close their books on the contract. Fine, but the bank won't
accept the check for deposit. I really don't care if this is normal or
not, but how does she deposit a check for a dead person? BTW, my wife is
executioner named in the will. There really is no other "Estate" besides
a few personal things.

Chip
Since the estate is small, your wife should be able to get named
"voluntary administrator". Here's NYS's page on small estates:
http://www.nycprobate.com/27226.html. Other states are generally similar.

This is so easy that I did this myself a couple of years ago. And that
was simultaneous to working with an estate lawyer on a significant size
estate. (So it's not as though I would have had trouble finding a lawyer
- didn't see any need to pay for filling out a couple of forms.)

Just went to the courthouse, filled out a little paperwork (including
what assets the deceased had), and got papers that let us open an
account for the deceased. Deposited the check, distributed the money to
the heirs, closed the account, then filed paperwork with the courthouse
showing what the actual assets turned out to be, and that they had been
properly distributed.

Good luck.
 
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D

David S Meyers CFP

When my mom died a few years ago, with regard to the type of question
you are asking, we needed to open an account in the name of "Estate of
...".
That's pretty much the answer. Most estates will need such an account
for the executor to be able to do all of his duties.
You can get a TIN from the IRS online almost instantly. If you have
an attorney handling the estate, they should be able to give you
further guidance.
To open an Estate checking account, you will generally need the following:
(a) certified copy of death certificate
(b) court papers showing that you have been appointed executor
(c) A Taxpayer Id Number (TIN) noted above, actually it's a EIN - which
seems misleading, since EIN stands for Employer Identification Number -
but it's what you need, and you'll need it anyway if you are going to
be filing a 1041 tax return for the estate. You get it online here:
<http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=102767,00.html>
(You used to file a form SS-4 to get it, but now it's a lot easier to
do online)

Nolo has an excellent handbook for executors and trustees, and there's
also an excellent "for dummies" book on the issue, too. I recommend
either one.


--
David S. Meyers, CFP®
http://www.MeyersMoney.com
disclaimer: discussions in misc.invest.financial-plan are for
educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial
advice. For personal financial advice, please consult directly with a
professional.
 
D

Don

Not sure this is the right place, but you all seem to know a lot of answers.

My wife prepaid the "assisted" care home for her mother and the Long
Term Care Ins reimbursed her with a check made out in my wife's name.
When her mother died recently that last LTC check was made out to the
"Estate of (her mother)", not to my wife.  I assume the LTC insurer does
this to close their books on the contract.  Fine, but the bank won't
accept the check for deposit.  I really don't care if this is normal or
not, but how does she deposit a check for a dead person?  BTW, my wife
is executioner named in the will.  There really is no other "Estate"
besides a few personal things.

Chip
Sorry about my earlier post. I read too hastily and didn't notice the
part about loss of your mother-in-law. I apologize.
Don
 
G

Gene E. Utterback, EA, ABA

<"Chip Wood" wrote in message
SNIPPED

<My wife prepaid the "assisted" care home for her mother and the Long
<Term Care Ins reimbursed her with a check made out in my wife's name.
<When her mother died recently that last LTC check was made out to the
<"Estate of (her mother)", not to my wife. I assume the LTC insurer does
<this to close their books on the contract. Fine, but the bank won't
<accept the check for deposit. I really don't care if this is normal or
<not, but how does she deposit a check for a dead person? BTW, my wife
<is executioner named in the will. There really is no other "Estate"
<besides a few personal things.
<
<Chip

First, I'm sorry for your loss. Second, I think you mean executrix, NOT
executioner - I doubt your wife actually kills people for the state, unless
you're in Texas <g>.

You need to open a Probate Estate at the courthouse for the county where mom
lived. This will get you a Letter of Administration, or whatever they call
it where you are. Go find a local Enrolled Agent, a Federally regulated tax
specialist, and get a Federal ID number for a Decedent's Estate. Then take
the Letter of Administration from the court AND the letter from the IRS with
the ID number and you can open an Estate Account for mom. Then deposit the
check.

You will also need to provide an accounting to the court of all assets and
liabilities for mom. Your wife will be responsible to accumulate and
address the assets (read - sell the assets) as necessary to pay any
outstanding bills for mom BEFORE she distributes any money to the
beneficiaries. If your wife actually paid the home for mom then wife also
becomes a creditor and will be entitled to get paid from the estate funds.

This is NOT something most people can do on their own. Its not that its
particularly hard, just that there are specific rules and procedures that
need to be followed and unless you do this work regularly it can be a maze
to get through - hence my recommendation to get professional help from EA.
Go to www.naea.org - the National Association of Enrolled Agents - and you
can search for an EA near you.

Good luck,
Gene E. Utterback, EA, RFC, ABA
 
D

Don

This is NOT something most people can do on their own.  Its not that its
particularly hard, just that there are specific rules and procedures that
need to be followed and unless you do this work regularly it can be a maze
to get through - hence my recommendation to get professional help from EA.
Go towww.naea.org- the National Association of Enrolled Agents - and you
can search for an EA near you.
In light of the fact that there is nothing in the estate but a few
personal things, I would be hesitant to pay any significant amount of
money to anyone to handle the matter without first looking at other
possibilities. Could not the OP's wife simply send back the check and
ask the Long Term Care Company to issue another check made out her
instead of the estate? And I suspect those few personal items could
just pass to the family without further paper work.
 
G

Gene E. Utterback, EA, ABA

"Don" wrote in message

This is NOT something most people can do on their own. Its not that its
particularly hard, just that there are specific rules and procedures that
need to be followed and unless you do this work regularly it can be a maze
to get through - hence my recommendation to get professional help from EA.
Go towww.naea.org- the National Association of Enrolled Agents - and you
can search for an EA near you.
In light of the fact that there is nothing in the estate but a few
personal things, I would be hesitant to pay any significant amount of
money to anyone to handle the matter without first looking at other
possibilities. Could not the OP's wife simply send back the check and
ask the Long Term Care Company to issue another check made out her
instead of the estate? And I suspect those few personal items could
just pass to the family without further paper work.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Be careful NOT to be penny wise and pound foolish.

I hear "reasons" every day for why someone doesn't want to open a probate
estate, some are valid and some are not. But I'll share a few of the
reasons why I always that a probate estate be opened.

1 - if there really is NOTHING in the estate, the filing fees will be cheap.
A small estate in Maryland - Under $20K I think - can be opened for $150;

2 - creditors have certain rights against estate assets (like the check
referenced above). While we may THINK we know all about Aunt Mary's
financial life, the reality is that none of can be certain that we've
covered everything. Opening a probate estate starts the statute of
limitations running on how long a creditor has to file a claim against the
estate. In Maryland if a creditor fails to file a claim within six months
of the probate estate being listed in the local paper then that creditor
forever loses the right to what is owed them;

3 - failure to open a probate estate so that all creditor, known and unknown
to the personal representative, shifts liability to the personal
representative PERSONALLY. For example, in this case if no probate estate
is opened and the PR is able to get the check reissued to them personally
and 2 years from now a creditor pops up and says "gimmie", the PR may be
personally liable to that creditor.

IANAL, but I've done probate admin work as an accountant for almost 30
years. When my father died in 91 mom went to the courthouse to open a
probate estate and the clerk (of the Orphan's Court in Maryland) told her
she did NOT need to do that since she was his wife and everything would pass
to her. This was technically correct, but practically it created a real
mess.

When mom died in 95 and my brother and I went to open her probate estate we
were FORCED to also open an estate for dad, who died 4 year earlier - WHY,
you may ask? Because mom didn't open a probate estate she could NOT remove
dad's name from the house or car. So the only way for US to resolve her
estate was to first open one for HIM. Twice the work and twice the cost and
effort. It would have been simpler had mom done what we told her to when
dad died.

So even though you may NOT be required to open a probate estate, doing so
provides some liability protection for the PR, locks out creditors and
claimants against and cleans things up properly.

Good luck,
Gene E. Utterback, EA, RFC, ABA
 
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D

Don

"Don"  wrote in message




In light of the fact that there is nothing in the estate but a few
personal things, I would be hesitant to pay any significant amount of
money to anyone to handle the matter without first looking at other
possibilities. Could not the OP's wife simply send back the check and
ask the Long Term Care Company to issue another check made out her
instead of the estate? And I suspect those few personal items could
just pass to the family without further paper work.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Be careful NOT to be penny wise and pound foolish.

I hear "reasons" every day for why someone doesn't want to open a probate
estate, some are valid and some are not.  But I'll share a few of the
reasons why I always that a probate estate be opened.

1 - if there really is NOTHING in the estate, the filing fees will be cheap.
A small estate in Maryland - Under $20K I think - can be opened for $150;

2 - creditors have certain rights against estate assets (like the check
referenced above).  While we may THINK we know all about Aunt Mary's
financial life, the reality is that none of can be certain that we've
covered everything.  Opening a probate estate starts the statute of
limitations running on how long a creditor has to file a claim against the
estate.  In Maryland if a creditor fails to file a claim within six months
of the probate estate being listed in the local paper then that creditor
forever loses the right to what is owed them;

3 - failure to open a probate estate so that all creditor, known and unknown
to the personal representative, shifts liability to the personal
representative PERSONALLY.  For example, in this case if no probate estate
is opened and the PR is able to get the check reissued to them personally
and 2 years from now a creditor pops up and says "gimmie", the PR may be
personally liable to that creditor.

IANAL, but I've done probate admin work as an accountant for almost 30
years.  When my father died in 91 mom went to the courthouse to open a
probate estate and the clerk (of the Orphan's Court in Maryland) told her
she did NOT need to do that since she was his wife and everything would pass
to her.  This was technically correct, but practically it created a real
mess.

When mom died in 95 and my brother and I went to open her probate estate we
were FORCED to also open an estate for dad, who died 4 year earlier - WHY,
you may ask?  Because mom didn't open a probate estate she could NOT remove
dad's name from the house or car.  So the only way for US to resolve her
estate was to first open one for HIM.  Twice the work and twice the cost and
effort.  It would have been simpler had mom done what we told her to when
dad died.

So even though you may NOT be required to open a probate estate, doing so
provides some liability protection for the PR, locks out creditors and
claimants against and cleans things up properly.

Good luck,
Gene E. Utterback, EA, RFC, ABA

Yes, I certainly agree that it is not a good idea to be penny wise and
pound foolish. It seems to me the points you mention are indeed good
reasons for opening a probate estate. I wonder, however, how
frequently these scenarios actually apply to a lot of people. I have
no statistics, but my guess is hat there are many people who might not
need to pay even $150 to avoid those kind of problems.

Actually, I am more concerned with professionals overcharging for
simple things that could easily be done by heirs or executors
themselves even when probate is necessary. For example, I see no
reason at all for paying a lawyer or anyone else 5% of the assets in
an estate for taking a few forms to the courthouse and performing a
few other simple duties (which are commonly done by a legal secretary
anyway). If there are complexities in an estate which require legal
advice, an executor should hire a lawyer on a consultation basis as
needed, paying that lawyer's usual hourly fee. A percentage of assets
usually is outrageous. The same goes for stock brokers or any other
professional advice that might be needed.
 

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