If you find yourself in charge of winding up a loved one's estate, you probably don't know where to start. Here are tips on tackling this demanding job, one step at a time. (Good news: you may never need to set foot in a probate court.)
My mother passed away quite recently. I've been taking care of her house, and notice that credit card bills and so forth are starting to pile up. Who's responsible for these? Am I, since I have inherited some money and property from her? When I notify the creditors of her death, will that make me responsible?
My fiancé passed away last year. Our deed lists us as "joint tenants with rights of survivorship." To settle his estate, his family wants to pay off his half of the mortgage owed on the property. Does this mean that his beneficiaries would then automatically own his half of the property?
I have a 401(k) plan that's worth about $50,000. Will my beneficiaries have to pay taxes or penalties if they withdraw this money when they inherit it after my death? Can they roll it over into another tax-deferred plan?
My son died about six weeks ago. He did not have a will. He had $1,200 in a money market account. People at the bank say they need Letters Testamentary, an Affidavit of Domicile, and my son's death certificate to transfer funds to an account in my name. How do I obtain the letter and affidavit?
After my father died, my mother got half of their house. The other half is shared by my brother and I, and my father's two daughters from his first marriage. What happens to this house when my mother dies? She has a son from her first marriage. Can she leave her half to him? If so, does our share stay the same?
My daughter died unexpectedly without leaving a will. She was unmarried and had no children. I, her mother, am next of kin. She had a 401(k) plan (but did not name a beneficiary) as well as money in mutual funds and an IRA. How do I get these funds? I live in California, as did my daughter.
My grandfather told me that he was leaving part of his estate to me. After my grandfather died, my father took control of all his assets and told us that there is a family trust. No will was found. Should we just assume that everything was left to our father, despite what our grandfather said?
The executor of an estate has an important job -- protecting a deceased person's property, winding up their financial affairs, and distributing inheritances. The law does not require an executor (also called personal representative) to be a legal or financial expert, but the executor must be patient, honest, and willing to deal with both the emotional issues that surround a death, plus a big pile of paperwork. Sound overwhelming? With the right help, it doesn't have to be.