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  1. #1
    TRGrund Guest

    Question Father died...what now?

    What is the name of your state? Oregon

    my father died recently, no will...very little assets. we have a rather unique situation. due to circumstance i'd rather not mention in a public forum, my sister had power of attorney and was taking care of my father's bills and what not. my father was a former public employee who had money directly deposited into his checking account once a month. there was no physical property to be distributed, he had probably $80,000 to $100,000 in his bank accounts. (as far as i know)

    my sister took care of planning the funeral and burying my father. we've spoken several times and my sister seems understandibly overwelmed. none of us really know how to proceed.

    i guess my question is this: what should we do now? what are our rights & responsibilities? although i know from friends whose parents have passed, that assets should go into probate...is it different in our case because my sister had power of attorney and was also on all of my father's bank accounts?

    Last edited by TRGrund; 10-02-2003 at 05:09 PM.
  2. #2
    hexeliebe Guest
    Just because your father passed without a will does not mean his estate does not have to pass through probate. It only means he died intestate (without a will).

    And a power of attorney is not the same as an Executor of the Estate. If your sister is overwhelmed with the details, then one of the other children should file for Executorship of the estate which would give them the power to settle the estate according to the wishes of the court which will have to now become involved.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    The power of attorney expired automatically at the exact moment that your father's death occurred.

    Is sister only "pretending" to be "overwhelmed" or could it be that she slyly thinks she is the only one who secretly knows that she is in a position to claim all of the money in the bank account as hers (if she was named as joint account owner, then at the death of the other co-owner, your father, ownership immediately goes to her under the concept of right of survivorship), without even needing to go through probate? Is it possible that she could have planned for and intended this outcome all along?

    If she has indicated that she is willing to distribute this money fairly to the other heirs, then I guess she can be trusted. The problem is that she probably already knows it is hers, and there is no way on earth for you all to force her to distribute it.

    DANDY DON IN OKLAHOMA (tiekh@yahoo.com)

  4. #4
    mrsterric Guest

    be careful

    I am not a lawyer, but I have been in a world of hurt with my Mother's estate for 4 years now and this is what I have learned...

    If your sister was a joint account holder on your Father's bank accounts she now owns the accounts and the money is legally hers. When there is a joint account the funds pass directly to the joint owner and do not pass through probate.

    Any account that has a named beneficiary, other than the estate itself, pass outside probate as well.

    I believe the power of attorney your sister had was considered null and void the day your Dad passed away.

    Any real property your father owned may need to go through probate. I believe that if the value of the estate assets is worth less than $15,000 there are simplified procedures you can go through to make it as painless and inexpensive as possible.

    You may want to contact the probate court in your area and ask the clerk how you would start these procedures, they are usually very helpful in pointing you in the right direction. You may need to name an administrator to the estate as stated in the previous message.

    I am very sorry for your loss, and good luck to you and your family!

    For those of you that are the pros at this, please correct me if I am wrong on any of these points.

  5. #5
    TRGrund Guest


    Thanks to all who have responded...the information you've provided is kind of what i thought would be the case.

    i do have a couple of other related questions though.

    when and if my sister does split the money up and distributes it, what would be the tax implications for me? i'm just kind of wondering if she just cuts a check in 4 equal amounts (4 siblings), then what? do i just deposit this in my savings and not worry about it? do i report it somehow? i assume i'll need to at least report it on my taxes....?

    Also, my father has stated many times over the years that he had life insurance. However, we don't know the policy # or even the company. As recently as 1997 my father met with me and said he had a life insurance policy that was worth $100,000...he told me that if he died he wanted me to split the money evenly and that he was putting me as the sole beneficiary, because at the time he didn't trust my siblings. Things changed in the family (obviously) and i didn't have contact with my father for the few years leading up to his death. my siblings all have memories of him talking about his life insurance, but none of us have any other info except his claim to have had it.

    we suspect that the insurance he refered to may have been a group policy through his employer. the employer, however has been little help. we are searching through his things looking for any policy or paperwork. what would you recommend we do besides that? with out some kind of written documentation are we going to be out of luck?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Cutting a check in 4 equal amounts will probably be the way she needs to go. She or you needs to be consulting with a CPA or tax accountant for professional advice on how this money is to be reported and whether federal or state inheritance taxes will be involved.

    I think you will be lucky enough to find a policy in your father's papers. However, if you don't find it, it's going to be a bit difficult to get information, since there is no one central database where one can check on the status of a policy.

    You may want to visit the website [url]www.L-LIFEINSURANCE.COM[/url] where they search the top 400 insurance companies in the US for an $89 fee to see if your father has a policy with one of the leading companies, and/or you can contact a doctor to find out how to order your father's medical records from a medical records bureau that may have the name of the insurance company that made inquiries about these records when they first insured him, and that might provide a lead.

    Or, ask your father's bank for copies of his cancelled checks for a period of 1 year prior to and including the time of his death, since if he was still paying monthly premiums to an insurance company that might provide another clue.

    DANDY DON IN OKLAHOMA (tiekh@yahoo.com)

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