There are both practical and legal responsibilities linked to a trustee when the grantor passes away.
- Locating and reviewing all of the important papers of the deceased. These items should be found as soon as possible.
- Change the locks and take any steps necessary to close out and protect the house.
- Notify insurance carriers that the house will remain vacant.
- Verify that property insurance and auto-insurance policies are active such that various trust assets are insured against liability or loss.
- Get the certified copies of the death certificate from the village clerk, town clerk, or funeral director.
- Make a list of all the household goods that are included in the house to be distributed to beneficiaries. Photographing personal property can make this process easier.
- Create an exhaustive list of all of the assets and establish a baseline value for these assets.
- Pay any outstanding debts, bills or taxes.
- If the trust will generate more than $600 in total income from the date of the person passing away until all of the assets inside the trust are distributed, the trustee needs to obtain a tax identification number for the trust.
- File any claims for IRAs, life insurance and other assets that require individual forms.
- Create an accounting of all expenses paid and all assets at the date of the death.
- Keep beneficiaries notified about the status of the case.
If you are curious about how to serve in this role as a trustee, schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney.