Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Leaving Probate Assets Behind...3 Things Not to Forget About

Image credit: - free image

Should I ever appear on the game show Family Feud (is it even still on the air) and the question on the big board was "what are 3 things commonly overlooked in a probate?", I'd stand a decent chance of scoring big.  Sure, I love games of all types, but it is my work as an estate planning and probate attorney that gives me insight regular people don't.  When someone dies I see lots of issues develop.  Just ask my husband -- he has been known to encourage me to add a happier area of law to my practice.

But I digress.  What would those 3 things be -- here you go:

  1. Storage Lockers.  Thanks to "hit" shows on cable, more people are aware of the fact that storage lockers may contain property of departed loved ones.  And they know if unclaimed, they might be auctioned off.  Still, this knowledge is not at the top of their to-do list when a loved ones dies.  People are grieving, forced to converse with relatives they do not get along with, and in some cases, dealing with final taxes, etc.  But do not over look the storage locker. One, there is likely a monthly bill the estate is responsible for paying.  And two, the items are likely part of the probate estate and should be inventoried;
  2. Cemetery Plots.  These small pieces of land are owned by people. Sometimes viewed as "family plots", they are still owned by a person.  And when that loved one dies, steps should be taken with the cemetery to transfer ownership; and
  3. Frequent flier miles or other loyalty rewards.  Tucked away in your wallet or stored on your computer may be a frequent consumer number worth thousands of dollars if not more.  When closing the affairs of a loved one, ask yourself if the departed may have had a large account, and if so how can it be located.  Often considered as part of the probate estate, those points may possibly be redeemed according to the terms of the service contract with the company.
Have a story to share about something you overlooked while closing the affairs of a loved one?  Leave a comment and share, it will make me smile.  Thanks for reading, and remember, a blog is not a lawyer.  Seek advice from an attorney in your state for advice specific to your situation.

No comments: