Years ago, when I was single, I went out of town and a few days later my condo neighbors called ’cause they smelled a terrible stench. Nothing had died, but turns out I had forgotten to take out the trash before I left. (Thanks Mom and Dad, who made arrangements to get in there and take care of it!)
Like old trash, old assets can cause a real stink. As we work with families who have lost a loved one, sometimes we find assets that have been left out too long, so to speak. Usually it goes something like this:
Grandpa died leaving some savings bonds for Dad, who just put them in the safe deposit box to deal with later. Then, when Dad died, he made his daughter the executor. The bonds now have to be moved down 2 generations in order to get them to the right person. Sometimes we even have to go to probate court for someone who died years ago! It can get tricky. (Read “What’s Worse Than Probate?” here.)
Do you have any old assets that need to be fixed now, rather than “stinking up the place” later?
- Stock certificates
- Life insurance policies
- Mineral rights
- Family farmland or real estate
Assets owned by a prior generation can sit too long and really make a mess of things. The longer you wait, the more complicated, expensive and time consuming it might be to move these assets to the current heirs.