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Checklists & Tools for Executor/ Administrator - Collecting Information & Documents of Assets & Liabilities of the Deceased

August 21, 2020

           Distribution of assets of the deceased, which become part of his/her estate on the date of his/her death, is a crucial legal step.  Successors become owners only after assets are lawfully transferred.

 

            The task of distribution is assigned to duly appointed Executor/Administrator of the deceased.  Such appointment is done by legal heirs by entering into unanimous agreement, OR by entry of Court Order.

 

            Process of collecting assets, paying outstanding debts, and distributing net assets begins only after an individual or entity is duly appointed as Executor/Administrator.

 

          The transfer process as well as powers, limitations, and accountability of Executor/Administrator are prescribed by statutory laws, which provide built-in protections to legal heirs to monitor the process and compliance with laws.

 

             Fiduciary Role of an Executor/Administrator

 

            Executor of valid and duly executed “Will” OR Administrator of the Estate of the Deceased, both have fiduciary duty towards the deceased as well as legal heirs.

 

            It is a Duty of Loyalty and Duty of Care. 

 

            Duty of loyalty is acting for benefit of and in the best interest of legal heirs of the deceased. 

 

            Duty of Care is complying with applicable laws in distribution of assets of the deceased and rendering full and accurate accounting of all financial activities of the estate of the deceased undertaken by executor/administrator to all legal heirs for their review and approval.

 

            This fiduciary duty entitles legal heirs to take civil and/or criminal action against executor/administrator for committing any breach of assigned duties.

 

            It is helpful to maintain checklist/spreadsheet of all information and documents, prepare inventory, and log all financial activities conducted on behalf of the deceased. 

 

           Executor/Administrator is required by law to render full and accurate accounting of all actions taken or to be taken by him/her on behalf of the deceased to all legal heirs. 

 

           Legal heirs have a right to review all activities conducted on behalf of the deceased.

 

           To begin, executor/administrator must contact all sources and collect supporting information and documentary evidence of assets and outstanding debts of the deceased.   

 

            The sources include family members, employers, service providers, professionals (lawyers, accountants, financial consultants, etc.), bankers, pension authorities, utility companies, municipal authorities, etc.

 

            Assistance from legal professional having expertise in property transfer must be obtained and all applicable laws must be complied with.

 

            Assets may consist of cash in hand, bank accounts, fixed deposits, investment accounts, Real Property (house, bldg., floor, apt., land), vehicles, jewelry, precious metals, business interests, shares, stocks, and bonds, etc.  All assets must be accounted for.

 

           Outstanding debts of the diseased may include personal loans, credit card debts, medical bills, utility bills, outstanding taxes, medical bills, funeral bills, etc.

 

Required Information

 

A.  Personal Data of Deceased:

 

S. No.           Particulars                                             Responses

 

a.                  Full Legal Name

b.                  Any Other name used

c.                  Date of Birth

d.                  Place of Birth

e.                  Date of Death

f.                  Residential address at the time of death

g.                 Aadhar Card Number

h.                 Pan card Number

i.                  Marital Status at the time of Death

j.                  Number of surviving Children

k.                 Number of Deceased Children

l.                  Did Deceased leave behind any Will/codicil/Trust?

 

B.     Family Data of Deceased:

 

 

S.No.              Relationship                     Name, address, tel.  &

                                                                Email 

                                 

i..               Surviving Spouse

ii.               Surviving Child 1

iii.              Surviving Child 2

iv.              Surviving Child 3

v.               Deceased Child 1

vi.              Legal heirs of Deceased

                     Child 1

 

C.      Data regarding Professionals Assisting Deceased:

 

 

 Professionals                                      Name, Address, Tel. No. &

                                                            Email

Lawyer(s)

Accountant(s)

Bank(s)

Financial Consultant(s)

Pension Authorities

Employer(s)

Business Associates

Others

 

Required Supporting Documents

Assets, Liabilities, & Initial Documents

 

 

I.     Initial Documents of Deceased

 

Documents                                            Obtained

                                                                   (Yes/No/Not Appl.)

 

Death Certificate

Aadhar Card

Pan Card

Income Tax Returns for last three years

Will Deed, Codicil, Trust

       Agreement, etc.

Mails

 

II.    Assets Owned by the Deceased on the Date of death:

 

S. No.          Particulars                                 Docs. Obtained      

                                                                      (Yes/No/Not Appl.)

1.          Cash at Hand

             At Residence                                   Actual Cash

             At Business Premises                      Actual Cash

             Lockers/safe deposit boxes             Actual Cash

 

2.         Bank Accounts

            Checking Accounts                         Passbook & Statement

            Saving Accounts                             Passbook & Statement

            Fixed Deposits                                Certificates of Deposit

                                                                           & latest statement

 

3.        Lockers/Safe Deposit Boxes          Ownership Agreement

                                                                         and keys

 

4.        Real Estate/Properties

           Residential

            – House/floor/flat, etc.                   Title Deeds,    

                                                                    membership certificate

 

            Rental Properties                            Title Deeds,

                                                                    Membership Cert. &

                                                                    Rental Agreement

 

           Commercial Properties                    Title Deeds,                                                                     Membership Cert. &                                                                     Rental Agreement

 

           Land – Agri./Non-Agri.                   Title Deeds, Leases &

                                                                     Contracts

5.        Income Accounts

           Pension Accounts                             Pension Order and

                                                                     latest statement

    

           Salary                                               Statement and

                                                                    Employer letter

 

           Business Income                              Financial Statements

 

           Profit Sharing                                   Statements

 

6.         Vehicles

            Car/van/bus/motorcycle/

            boats/truck                                     Title Documents

 

7.        Business Interests

 

          Sole Proprietorship                          Formation Documents

          Corporation                                      Incorporation Docs &

                                                                     Share Certificates

           Partnership                                        Partnership Deed

 

8.        Insurance

 

           Life Insurance                                   Policy

           Health Insurance                               Policy

          Auto Insurance                                   Policy

 

9.       Investment Accounts

 

          Shares/Stocks                                     Ownership Certificate

          Bonds                                                 Ownership Certificate

          Treasury notes/bills                            Ownership Certificate

          Savings Bonds                                   Ownership Certificate

 

10.    Accounts Receivables

       

         Money Owed by third parties

             to the Deceased                              Agreement & Stmt. of

                                                                        amount due

 

11.     Precious metals & Art Objects

         Jewelry                                               Jewelry

         Gold & Precious metals                     Gold & Precious

                                                                        metals

        Art Objects                                         Art Objects

        Antiques                                             Antiques

 

12.   Others

 

       Investments                                          Ownership documents

       Collections                                            Objects

       Money Judgments                                Court orders

       Causes of actions                                  Details

       Patents                                               Documents

       Trademarks                                        Documents

       Copyrights                                         Documents

      

III.     Outstanding Debts of Deceased:

 

S. No.                  Particulars                        Documents Obt.

                                                                     (Yes/No/Not Appl.)

1.        Personal Loans

           Creditor 1                                         Agreements & Stmt. 

                                                                     of amount due

           Creditor 2                                         Agreements & Stmt.

                                                                     of amount due

2.       Credit Card Debts

          Credit Card 1                                    Latest Statements

          Credit Card 2                                    Latest Statements

 

3.      Mortgage - Real Estate/property

         Property 1                                          Agreement & stmt of

                                                                    outstanding balance

 

         Property 2                                          Agreement & stmt of                                                                       outstanding balance

 

4.      Home Equity Loan or Other

         Lines of Credit                                    Agreement & stmt of                                                                      outstanding balance

 

5.     Auto (car/van/truck etc.) Loans

        Auto Loan 1                                        Agreement & stmt of                                                                       outstanding balance

 

        Auto Loan 2                                         Agreement & stmt of                                                                     outstanding balance

 

6.    Taxes Payable

        Property Tax                                       Tax Bill

 

         Income Tax                                        Tax Returns & Stmt.

                                                                    from Income Tax Dept

 

7.     Utility Bills

        Electricity                                             Electricity Bill

         Water                                                   Water Bill

        Telephone                                              Telephone bills

        Cable & Internet                                   Cable & Internet bill

 

8.    Unpaid Medical bills                             Medical Bills

9.    Funeral Bills                                          Funeral bills

10.  Unpaid professional bills

       Lawyer                                                  Billing statement

      Accountant                                             Billing Statement

      Financial consultant                               Billing Statement

      Others                                                     Billing Statements

 

11.  Other liabilities and

       amounts payable                                  Billing Statements

 

 

             After collecting all information and supporting documents, Executor/Administrator is required to make inventory of assets and liabilities, obtain valuation of assets, pay outstanding debts of the deceased, and calculate net assets for distribution. Copy of inventory of assets and liabilities must be provided to all legal heirs for their review and approval prior to distribution of assets of the deceased.

 

Author:       Santosh K. Pawar is managing attorney of Law Firm of Santosh K. Pawar.  She is licensed to practice in India and U.S. (state of New York), and specializes in NRI legal counseling and services besides US Immigration, Family Law, and Property Laws.  For more information and assistance, contact by email at santosh@attorneypawar.com , call at (585) 264-1649 or WhatsApp at (585) 474-0935.

 

 

             

 

S

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