When someone passes away, it is common to feel overwhelmed and not know where to begin. In this post, we break down exactly what items you might need at first to begin opening the estate if you are named as the executor. It is important to note that you should only collect these items from your deceased loved one's home if you are planning to safeguard and/or use them, in good faith, for purposes of administering his or her estate. After your loved one dies, it is extremely important to look after and store items like these in a safe place to ensure that they do not get lost, discarded, misplaced or stolen.
Initial Items to Gather:
- Car / Vehicle / Machinery Titles.
- Original Death certificates for the decedent (at least 6-10 originals).
- Original Will (if a lawyer doesn’t have it).
- Estate paperwork and death certificate(s) of any close family members if in decedent's possession (i.e. the deceased's late spouse, sibling, parent or child).
- Marriage certificate(s).
- Birth certificates of any family members that might have been in his or her possession.
- Any of his or her ID cards, insurance cards, etc.
- Any bank statements, financial statements & recent mailings.
- Income Tax Returns in the past 3 years.
- Information about all real estate owned, including (i) deed, (ii) latest real estate tax bill, (iii) mortgage statements, and/or (iv) co-op stock certificates.
- Information about any and all life insurance policies on the life of the decedent or owned by the decedent on the life of another individual (or any recent premium notices or the policies themselves).
- Payment Receipts from funeral, memorial, etc. (even catering and flowers).
- Valuables (make sure to create a detailed list of what you are taking to store for safekeeping).
- Keepsakes (make sure to create a detailed list of what you are taking to store for safekeeping).
Should you have questions about what to items to collect and where to safely store them, please contact Trustate for more information.