A trust is set up to put your assets into a separate entity that won’t go into probate. The one bank account I referred to yesterday was outside of the trust. My concern about the account being frozen once they found out about Mom’s death was only the first layer. Apparently it could have gone into Probate, which would have left me with nothing (yet) to access to pay her bills.
Here’s another hiccup I discovered – I thought that since I had the Power of Attorney I would have access to the accounts. Wrong. The POA disappears at death. So now we have to look at the structure of the trust. Thank Heaven I moved those funds in the joint account so I can have access to them immediately.
Mom was the Trustee of the Trust (make sense?). She named me as Successor Trustee. I have to wait for everyone to be notified of the death, get a new EIN (Social security number dies along with the person) for the trust, get them to acknowledge that I am the successor trustee, then I am good to go.
Mom’s attorney is handling that, after I called and had a meltdown with them after I tried to put funds INTO the savings account – they wouldn’t even let me do that. To top it off, I apparently dropped the checkbook, someone turned it in, so it’s locked up in lost and found at the bank.
I can’t get it until I provide the Successor Trustee paperwork, even though I had it in my hands and my own stupidity/angst/fluster at not being able to even put a deposit into the account caused it to go away for the short term.
Having said all of this in a negative note, I understand the process now and it makes sense. But you have to laugh at the fact that we are so unprepared for this.
- The POA goes away at death.
- The social security number goes away at death.
- No one is in charge of the Trust until the Successor Trustee is established with a new EIN for the Trust and the IRS is notified.
It’s not that difficult, but had I been prepared this would not have been as confusing as it was – especially when I was still reeling from losing Mom.
Wishing you peace and hoping this helps some other poor soul walking this path…