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Practicalities of Dealing With a Death

Practicalities of Dealing With a Death

Old Aug 26th 2009, 12:51 pm
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Default Practicalities of Dealing With a Death

My MIL died recently (she lived in Oregon) and my husband is the sole executor his brother is on the other side of the country and they are on very good terms. To complicate matters, OH is in Europe on business and is rearranging flights to get back to North America.

Anyway I was wondering for those who have been in this unfortunate position (dealing with a death in the US) if there is any advice they can offer. Things they found out that would have been useful to know early on in the legal process, stuff like that.

Thanks for your help.
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Old Aug 26th 2009, 1:58 pm
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Default Re: Practicalities of Dealing With a Death

Is there a will? Were arrangements made prior to death for the funeral by the MIL or her sons? If no to any of the above, the things to know before hand are:

1. Type of funeral service the deceased wished to have.
2. Location of Cemetry and if a plot is already bought, where is the deed.
3. Life Insurance policies? If any, who has the physical copy of it?
4. Name of attorney who handled the will if there is one.
5. If real property is owned by the deceased, the name of the mortgage holder, if any, and where the deed is.
6. Where bank accounts are.

We had to do all of this in reverse several years ago when our aunt died in Germany and left the estate to my sister and I and we had to go to Germany to tend to banking, closing accounts, sorting through the household furnishing, clothing, etc. and all without a knowledge of the language.
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Old Aug 26th 2009, 2:10 pm
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Default Re: Practicalities of Dealing With a Death

Originally Posted by gad33 View Post
My MIL died recently (she lived in Oregon) and my husband is the sole executor his brother is on the other side of the country and they are on very good terms. To complicate matters, OH is in Europe on business and is rearranging flights to get back to North America.

Anyway I was wondering for those who have been in this unfortunate position (dealing with a death in the US) if there is any advice they can offer. Things they found out that would have been useful to know early on in the legal process, stuff like that.

Thanks for your help.
Tell him to ask about bereavement fares when rearranging his flights. Many airlines will give you a reduced price ticket in the event of having to travel at short notice due to a death.
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Old Aug 26th 2009, 2:59 pm
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Default Re: Practicalities of Dealing With a Death

Very sorry for your loss.

I am not sure what your MIL's financial situation was, but it's possible your husband, as executor, may have to file a final 1040 tax return. Also, if the estate receives any income that is not distributed to beneficiaries, the executor may have to file an estate income tax return, form 1041, each year until the estate is wound up.

I would recommend consulting with a local tax professional to confirm; if your MIL had an attorney he/she should be able to recommend someone.
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Old Aug 26th 2009, 3:39 pm
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Default Re: Practicalities of Dealing With a Death

Originally Posted by Peter Newton View Post
Very sorry for your loss.

I am not sure what your MIL's financial situation was, but it's possible your husband, as executor, may have to file a final 1040 tax return. Also, if the estate receives any income that is not distributed to beneficiaries, the executor may have to file an estate income tax return, form 1041, each year until the estate is wound up.

I would recommend consulting with a local tax professional to confirm; if your MIL had an attorney he/she should be able to recommend someone.
When my wife died, I was guided by our lawyer. I had to get multiple copies of the death certificate for closing bank accounts, transferring the house to my name, etc.
I had to file state taxes as well as federal. The lawyer took care of probating her will.

This was Pennsylvania though, each state is different.
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Old Aug 26th 2009, 6:07 pm
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Default Re: Practicalities of Dealing With a Death

My good friend/neighbor just died in Oregon this year. He had a will but no trust. One son has been living in the house (had been caring for Dad) and as I'm close, they've shared a lot of details with me.. I had no experience of any of it before. They have a basic lawyer who is guiding them through probate; it's all fairly straight forward but very time consuming. They can dispose of any and all effects (the house is in a sale contract now) but they have to wait for the court to certify disbursement of the funds. Initially, a judge had to OK the setting up of it all. One brother has been working with the lawyer remotely from the other side of the US.

I'm sorry to hear of your loss; if I can help you round up any local resources just ask & I'll see what I can find.
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Old Aug 27th 2009, 2:45 am
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Default Re: Practicalities of Dealing With a Death

Thank you everyone for your replies. The only advantage for my husband being in Europe is that being 8 hours ahead he had got his good nights sleep before I started ringing him.

It was ridiculously expensive to get a flight to PDX so he changed the return dates on his original ticket and is coming back here and then we are driving. I'm happier about this as I won't be crossing the border on my own. We will be crossing at the same point as we crossed in the summer where they told me I could keep my green card. So hopefully no hassles this time.

Has anyone had to cancel a airplane ticket for a person who has died? My MIL had booked to visit us in October and I was just wandering if in these situations the airlines stick to no refunds.

Meauxna, I will PM you with a couple of questions that are specific to the area.

Once agian, thanks everyone.
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Old Aug 27th 2009, 9:14 am
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Default Re: Practicalities of Dealing With a Death

Originally Posted by gad33 View Post
Thank you everyone for your replies. The only advantage for my husband being in Europe is that being 8 hours ahead he had got his good nights sleep before I started ringing him.

It was ridiculously expensive to get a flight to PDX so he changed the return dates on his original ticket and is coming back here and then we are driving. I'm happier about this as I won't be crossing the border on my own. We will be crossing at the same point as we crossed in the summer where they told me I could keep my green card. So hopefully no hassles this time.

Has anyone had to cancel a airplane ticket for a person who has died? My MIL had booked to visit us in October and I was just wandering if in these situations the airlines stick to no refunds.

Meauxna, I will PM you with a couple of questions that are specific to the area.

Once agian, thanks everyone.
I'm sure that the airline will show some compassion when it comes to cancelling the ticket. Just explain the circumstances.

Sorry for your family's loss.

Jim.
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Old Aug 28th 2009, 2:41 am
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Default Re: Practicalities of Dealing With a Death

Originally Posted by gad33 View Post
Thank you everyone for your replies. The only advantage for my husband being in Europe is that being 8 hours ahead he had got his good nights sleep before I started ringing him.

It was ridiculously expensive to get a flight to PDX so he changed the return dates on his original ticket and is coming back here and then we are driving. I'm happier about this as I won't be crossing the border on my own. We will be crossing at the same point as we crossed in the summer where they told me I could keep my green card. So hopefully no hassles this time.

Has anyone had to cancel a airplane ticket for a person who has died? My MIL had booked to visit us in October and I was just wandering if in these situations the airlines stick to no refunds.

Meauxna, I will PM you with a couple of questions that are specific to the area.

Once agian, thanks everyone.

Now its been a few years since I was in the airline industry but the 3 airlines I worked for all refunded non-refundable tickets in the event the passenger died prior to the flight. Although a copy or other proof of death was required.

(people do fake deaths to try and get lower fares or refunds.)

So may be worth a call to the airline and inquire, my time was well before airlines all started selling travel insurance and fees on everything, so they may not anymore, who knows.
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Old Aug 28th 2009, 1:14 pm
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Default Re: Practicalities of Dealing With a Death

I'm sorry for your family's loss

My dad's a solicitor (not in the US), and when his clients die and he is handling probate, part of that is doing an inventory of assets (including bank accounts, shares, property, personal property etc) and attending to closing those accounts etc - the Executor doesn't have to do it. If you can put together a list of those things, even if it's just the bank that she used, and addresses of her property etc, it will help.

Definitely talk to the lawyer who made her Will to see if they can guide you - it's just a lot of time-consuming paperwork.
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Old Aug 29th 2009, 3:36 pm
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Arrow Re: Practicalities of Dealing With a Death

I'm sorry to hear of your loss.

The UK Government has drawn this guidance together for families and friends of British nationals who die overseas. Laws and local custom vary widely from country to country. This guidance is therefore general, but it may help with some of the things you haven't thought about yet.

Dean
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Old Sep 9th 2009, 2:31 am
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Default Re: Practicalities of Dealing With a Death

Hi Guys

thanks again for all the help. We are back in Calgary and still have masses of things to deal with. Haven't phoned to cancel her flights yet. I could do everything else but that especially as the trip was for Thanksgiving (Canadian).

Got across the border OK, I'll post sometime about my 2 recent experiences but I have always found the Canadian Border Guards to be so different form the American ones. (yes I know that is just my experience.) Coming back they asked the usual questions and the only alcohol we had was 1 bottle of beer. The Canadian's response was "what happened to the other 23?"
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Old Sep 9th 2009, 8:41 pm
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Default Re: Practicalities of Dealing With a Death

Originally Posted by gad33 View Post
Coming back they asked the usual questions and the only alcohol we had was 1 bottle of beer. The Canadian's response was "what happened to the other 23?"
My uncle the Mountie will love this story
"6 pack" would be my first thought, but not the Canadians'!

Glad you're home safe.
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