We have been receiving an increased number of phone calls from our clients’ children, notifying us about the imminent death of one of their parents. The children usually call in a panic, asking if anything needs to be done before their parent passes. We do our best to assist them; however, sometimes it is just too late.
When the trustee is ready to proceed, he or she is asked to identify and collect financial information and important documents (i.e. wills, trusts, partnership documents, etc.), and bring several certified copies of the death certificate and an inventory of the assets. How the decedent’s assets are to be distributed and handled is determined in the initial estate administration meeting.
If no issues or problems arise, the entire estate administration process generally takes about six to eight months — up to several years.
Estate planners strongly suggest conducting an estate plan review at least every three to five years so that important decisions don’t have to be made during the very stressful time of a loved one’s waning days.