Here’s a reality no one likes to talk about: when a loved one dies, as if working through grief is not enough, there’s a lot of other work to be done. In addition to the obvious tasks, like calling family members and friends and arranging services, there are bank accounts to close, bills to pay, home maintenance chores…The list goes on. To help families organize, an experienced estate planning attorney offers a practical checklist.
The timing and sequencing of tasks that need to be attended to when someone dies are important. Naturally, grief can cloud our thinking and disrupt our energy. That’s why, although difficult, it’s always best when we have the opportunity to prepare ahead with family and friends, sharing our wishes, organizing our estate plans, and providing access to important documents.
Nonetheless, survivors are likely to be overwhelmed upon the death of a loved one. To that end, Jay David of Foster Swift offers a comprehensive “survivor checklist.” Starting with immediate actions, including determining if the deceased arranged for organ donation, was entitled to VA services or left instructions about burial or cremation, the checklist moves on to actions like reviewing the estate plans and documents and securing online accounts, mobile phones and computers. Among the items the Survivor Checklist includes, which could be easily overlooked, are:
- Locate the decedent’s user names and passwords to access computers and online accounts, as well as decedent’s cell phone and other electronic devices.
- Cancel decedent’s credit cards, automatic bill payments, club memberships, car lease, cell phone plan, magazine subscriptions, prescriptions, etc.
- Cancel home services that are no longer needed such as cable, internet, telephone, newspaper, trash pick-up, etc.
- Cancel decedent’s voter’s registration.
- Cancel decedent’s membership in organizations, professional or otherwise.
- Consult with decedent’s tax professional regarding the fi ling of any necessary tax returns required for the tax year in which the decedent died.
- Remove decedent’s name from the title of any assets that were jointly titled between the decedent and you.
- If you are the decedent’s spouse, update your estate planning documents, removing the decedent as a beneficiary and a fiduciary, if necessary.
Estate Plans and Fiduciary Bonds
Ideally, your loved had a chance to make an estate plan, which included a will, trust or combination of these tools, as well as share information about accessing pertinent documents and digital accounts. Keep in mind that in many jurisdictions across the country, it is common for those authorized to act on behalf of the deceased, such as an executor, trustee, or personal representative, to be required to obtain a fiduciary bond.
Sometimes specifically referred to as estate or probate bond, fiduciary bonds play an important role in the transfer of assets, by protecting the interests of the estate and its beneficiaries in accordance with all applicable laws. At Colonial Surety, fiduciary bonds of all kinds are available directly and digitally. The steps to obtaining fiduciary bonds are easy: get a quote online, fill out the information, and enter a payment method. Print or e-file the bond from anywhere, anytime.
Practical Solutions for Busy Lawyers
Colonial Surety has a full portfolio of easy, speedy fiduciary bonds including: administrator, estate, executor, guardian, personal representative, probate, surrogate, trustee, conservator and more.
Use our fully digital fiduciary bond portfolio to reduce the time and expense typically associated with antiquated bonding processes. In addition to providing bonds directly to the general public, Colonial offers The Partnership Account® for Attorneys . This free business service provides user-friendly client management dashboards, enabling attorneys to easily coordinate, view, complete and e-file the court and fiduciary bonds clients need. See for yourself today: The Partnership Account® for Attorneys.
Founded in 1930, Colonial Surety Company is a direct writer of surety bonds and insurance products. Colonial is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company, U.S. Treasury listed, and licensed for business everywhere in the USA.