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Beginning to deal with cousin's estate

May 23rd, 2021 at 07:03 pm

Now that the funeral is behind us, it's time to start dealing with everything needed to settle his estate. I'm expecting to leave for Florida Tuesday morning and get there Wednesday night (I'm driving).

Until I have death certificates, I can't address any of the financial stuff, so I'll start cleaning out the house, getting rid of trash, shredding unneeded papers, donating clothing and other items, etc. Once I have the certificates, I can start closing credit cards and bank accounts and getting assets transferred into my name. I will schedule a meeting with his attorney and give his financial advisor a call. I've already spoken to both of them. The advisor manages his retirement accounts and I'm the beneficiary so that stuff should be simple. No probate needed. Other stuff has to go through probate.

I got the first tiny piece of the inheritance - he had $85 cash in his wallet. Woo hoo.

Also in his wallet are two gift cards that they get as part of their HOA dues in his community. They are good at the clubhouse cafe (which has been closed for COVID) and at one local restaurant. I checked the balances and between the two of them, there's over $190 credit. I guess I know where I'll be eating regularly when I get down there.

I have a lot of work ahead of me and I'm sure some of it will be emotionally difficult, especially dealing with some of the more personal items, but I'll work my way through day by day. I'll be there by myself so I won't really have any distractions. I figure in the mornings, I'll start in the garage and crawlspace before the temperature heats up for the day. Once it's too warm, I'll focus on the inside stuff - clothing, kitchen, home office files, etc. The thrift shop where everything will be donated is just a few minutes away so I'm sure I'll be making multiple trips there. They will pick up but I'll save that for big items like furniture. I'm certainly capable of hauling bags of clothing and small household items over there myself, plus it will give me a reason to get out.

I suspect I'll be blogging more going forward so I'll update as I have new info.

8 Responses to “Beginning to deal with cousin's estate”

  1. Dido Says:

    It sounds as though you have a solid plan for addressing things. I suspect that this time by yourself and not having the distraction of work or family there to deal with will give you time for some deep thinking. I look forward to reading your blogs as you go through the process.

  2. mumof2 Says:

    Sounds like you have a plan...sorry you have to deal with this....hope everything goes smoothly for you.

  3. terri77 Says:

    You seem very organized. I hope everything goes smoothly.

  4. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    Very organized. I think it's a big job, one that is more emotionally taxing than it is physically.

  5. Lots of ideas Says:

    You are about to embark on a very hard journey.
    My advice:
    - build time into every day to rest. The physical work is tiring, but the mental and emotional drain is also exhausting.
    - leave closing bank accounts to the end. Money that you might not expect might flow in for a while.
    - same with credit cards
    - balance out the value of your time versus the perceived value of ‘things’. Trying to sell a large amount for the highest price delays settlement - choose carefully how much time you invest in seeking a few dollars more
    - keep a list of what you do each day. Many tasks are repetitive and it gets confusing what step you are in.
    - every organization’s process is different, none are easy, and some make no sense. Roll with it.

    Best wishes.

  6. disneysteve Says:

    Lots of ideas: Great tips. Thank you.
    - I definitely plan to pace myself and include down time. The area is very nice and is close to some fun touristy areas (east coast of Florida) so I may even take a day "off" and head to Delray or somewhere else nearby.
    - Closing bank accounts will be last for sure. Credit cards are easier because I know they haven't been used for at least 4 weeks at this point. I should be able to check and make sure there are no outstanding balances and check for any unredeemed rewards.
    - Deciding what to trash, what to sell, and what to donate will be a challenge. I'm a long-time collectibles dealer and ebay seller so I generally know what is and isn't worth selling and I don't want to waste a bunch of time to sell things that won't bring in enough money to be worth the effort.

  7. Lots of Ideas Says:

    It’s great if you can differentiate items that have true economic value now from that which has emotional value or which maybe were expensive when purchased but lost value over time.

    I think that holds a lot of people up in trying to move through a loved one’s lifetime accumulation of items they valued.

  8. rob62521 Says:

    You have things well planned out. Hope it goes smoothly. My thoughts are with you during this emotional time.

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