There are good things, and bad things, and unfortunate things that are all part of the estate process now that my father has passed. Mostly I’m confused and frustrated, because all of this seems rather complex.
First, the good.
Dad was a planner and he had time (and foresight) to do quite a bit of groundwork prior to his passing. I am the sole beneficiary on life insurance and he made me a joint person on his bank accounts so I can pay bills, etc. Since this stuff has my name on it already, things are kind of easy in this regard. Also, his account has a decent amount of money, so the mortgage payments can come out of this account. Also, without family fighting over stuff, the process should be more streamlined.
And The bad.
Dad never transferred the house into my name. His attorney friend had urged him to do a quick claim deed or make his estate a “trust”. Then ownership would have passed seamlessly and probate avoided. But because he didn’t, this means that his will has to go through probate in the court system. Which means judges and attorneys. And paperwork. And time. And notifications. And money. And I’m handling it from out of state. And and and…. Although there shouldn’t be any hiccups, nothing is ever easy (or quick) when the US legal system gets involved.
Then The unfortunate.
There really isn’t a good primer on all of this for the survivors of the newly deceased. I had to do a lot of google searching and the info is fragmented. Like- who all do you have to notify? Is probate required? What kind of taxes will I owe? I didn’t have to call his retirement pension people (they knew like instantly)– but I did have to call social security (and this is usually handled by the funeral folks, but not with my dad). Also, my dad’s attorney friend was supposed to be a resource for me after his death, but it hasn’t really worked out that way. It’s like pulling teeth to get help so I’ve given up. Oh, and don’t get me started on the tax implications and what I have to do to best protect myself from huge penalties.
Because things felt too stagnant to me, I bit the bullet and called an estate attorney on my own. I will meet them next Friday. Probate and the legal docs were just too much to sort out on my own and I wanted to get things moving. Mainly I want to get his house in the Market while real estate is still moving (and also while it’s spring). Also because it’s a lot to try to take care of from afar.
Anyway, enough of me venting. None of this isn’t something that a million other folks have to deal with before. It’s just time. And money.