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Thank you for all your support during the time I was a caregiver to my mother for the past four years. We lived with her and with her health problems and dementia had a pretty difficult time caregiving. Mother finally went into the nursing home the first of July of this year. Her dementia continued and she went into the hospital with pneumonia and passed away last week.

This forum has been a life saver for me during our time with mother. I appreciate letting me vent, giving me good advice, and lots of support. I've told several caregivers about this website. Thank you all so much.

I'm about to sit down and start stopping Social Security, insurances, etc. But, I thought you might let me know what needs to be done so I don't forget anything. She does have a will and some in savings.

Thank you for all your help. God bless all of you caregivers.

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I'm sorry about your loss. It's such a tough time - and then you have the need to do the paperwork. I hope you read the great tips given.
If you run into anything complicated, please check with an estate attorney. If your mom had someone draw up her legal papers, this attorney should give you some tips without charging too much. Every state is different, so you want to make sure you are following local rules.
Take care,
Carol
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Hey djnorris - I am sorry for your loss. I lost my mom on September 17.

Are you the executor of your Moms will? The executor is responsible for closing down your Mom's estate. Any POA you might have had is VOID now that she has passed.

I assume she was not married at the time of her death?

You will need the original copy of the Will, and the Will may or may not need to go to Probate

Do you have the original death certificates? Most folks need several of these before they can proceed. The probate court, any life insurance, the banks, and most pensions require an original copy.

The 1st thing I did was make sure any recurring bills coming out of Moms account were either closed (hersupplemental health insurance premiums with BCBC) or transfered (the property insurance on her house and utility bills). The 2nde thing i di wa make sure her property taxes had been paid - as the determination on what will happen to her house (she owned her home but was not living there) will be up in the air for some time.

Remember NOT to distribute any assets to heirs until all her creditors - and her taxes - are paid! Sometimes people get into such a rush to do this that they end up having to paying things out of their own pocket! Don't let this happen to you.

As my Moms estate is relatively simple, and as i had been handling her finances for years, I was able to estimate what her taxes and creditr payments would be - and then added 20% just in case - so I know how much cash that CAN be distributed under the 'share and share alike' clause of her will.

There is so much to know - and it is dependent on your particular state laws. One doesn't NEED an attorney to handle a simple estate - but one does need to make sure they follow the law regarding probate in their partifcular jurisdiction.

If you will Google Probate and the name of your state, you will likely he able to find several sites that can walk you through it.

Good luck to you. If i can help you in any way drop me a private message as i don't always check the boards.
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Need an original death certificate for each account, insurance policies, etc. Get a couple of extra's too.

SS already knows, the funeral home takes care of this. You may still get a SS payment, don't spend it as SS will do a clawback. So you may want to keep the account open for a couple of months till all that clears thru.

If she was on Medicaid, her home may be subject to MERP - if that is the case you need to check with the state to see how they do MERP. If you have been paying for items for her home (as her $ went to pay for NH), then you have your own claim against the estate. MERP needs to know this and the amount, for them to determine if they will even do a MERP claim or lein on your mom's estate. States have their own different time requirements and reporting needs on this.

Yes some states are simple when it comes to probate. I've been executrix twice in Texas, 1 was easy the other was a lengthly contested brutal experience. I'm a firm beleiver in having a probate attorney work with you if emotionally it's hard.

Alot of it, you can do on your own if costs are an issue and you are organized. You don't have to be in a rush to do probate either. You can take about forever to open it and then it has 4 years to be closed out, that's what it is for TX.

If there isn't much to estate, you can in some states probate a will as a “muniment of title”. Instead of applying for letters testamentary and undertaking a full probate procedure, a person with a direct interest in the estate can submit an application to probate the will as a muniment of title. This can be used when all that is needed is the transfer of real estate and/or personal property from the decedent’s estate, and there is no other real need to manage the estate. For those of us who have parents on Medicaid (and MERP is not doing a claim), this may work as their assets are @ or below 2K except for their homestead and perhaps a car.

To do it there must be a will and no unpaid debts owed, except for liens on real estate. If they were on Medicaid/Medicare, all medical would be taken care of/bill to Medicaid or Medicare, so no medical debt there. If they had a funeral/burial policy, then no debts there either.

To proceed with a "muniment of title", a direct beneficiary of the will needs to submit a specific application to the probate court, and attach the original will. The court must be satisfied that the will is admissible, that there are no debts other than a mortgage, if that, and there is no other necessity for administration of the estate. A hearing will be required. If the court approves the application, it will issue an Order Admitting Will As A Muniment of Title.

The court’s order can be presented to persons owing money to the estate or having custody of estate property, and the property must be handed over to the beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the will. Within 180 days after the will is admitted, you file an affidavit with the probate clerk stating that the terms of the decedent’s will have been fulfilled. Very simple and straightforward. Good luck.
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Thank you for your comments about the value of this site. I feel as you do, very thankful. My mom passed away a week ago and while I'm very sad, my head is spinning. We do have an attorney who has given me a list, but honestly it is not complete.

Here are some of the things I'm working on that go beyond the legal. I am working with our pastor to determine how the service will run. Also, my sister, brother and I will ask our grown children if any of them will be speaking at the service. I know at least one of my sons will speak. My mom was loved and I think there may be a lot of people who want to say a few words and we will need to think about that.

Also, I am working with our local Inn to determine a menu for a gathering after the service. I have no idea how many people will come to the service. We have people coming from long distances and I just don't know who will actually be there.

Right now we have gotten a draft of the obituary from the funeral home and my brother, sister and I have reviewed and edited the draft. I have given that draft to my Mom's sister to get her input and then I am responsible for getting the final version to the funeral home to be placed in the newspaper.

Today I picked up my Mom's ashes. That was so sad. I brought Mom home and she is here with me. Well, actually she is always with me in my heart and in my mind, but it was something that needed to be done... getting the ashes. They will be brought to the church and then our family will sprinkle Mom's ashes with my Dad's as they requested.

I am making copies of my Mom's last financial statements for the attorney. Also, we need to stop her pension payments, notify Medco to stop her prescriptions. I notified her local pharmacist. I also need to tell the hair salon.

Of course I have been working through her phone book to let all of her friends know. I can't make more than one or two phone calls a day, because it is just too difficult for me, but everyone has been very nice and later I find the conversations are helpful to me.

Now I have to think about how to handle her household expenses and pay her ongoing expenses as we move through this transition.

I also want to reach out to family members who are hurting from the loss. I know her sister misses her very much and so I try to call and check on her. My own children are very sad and I wonder how I can help them...

I also need to tell my employer and my friends and her neighbors. Is there anyone else who I might be forgetting? I have to keep thinking about it.

I am sure there are other things, but I can't think of them now. I hope these thoughts have helped you. I hope others add to this kind of list, because I am sure there are other good ideas.

I really appreciate the comment of the person above who said not to pay out the estate until everything is settled. That's a good thought. Thank you again for this very helpful web site. I really, really appreciate all the help that I have received over the past few months.
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