Surviving Spouse Estate Administration Services
If the couple had a family trust or marital trust, the surviving spouse will not need to do a lot with respect to the assets in the family or marital trust, but there may be some work to be done (including amending their trust). Assets held jointly can be transferred to the surviving spouse without much difficulty. If the deceased spouse left a will or separate property that is to pass to anyone other than the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse may need the assistance of any experienced estate planning attorney to help make sure the deceased spouse’s separate property is properly transferred.
The surviving spouse may wish to have the deceased spouse’s name removed from title of any real property they owned together. This is achieved by preparing and filing an affidavit of death of trustee (if property was in trust) or an affidavit of death of joint tenant with the county recorder’s office within the county where the property is located. Removing the deceased spouse’s name can be necessary if the surviving spouse wishes to sell the property or take out a loan on the property, such as a reverse mortgage or home equity line of credit.
There are other administrative tasks that we recommend the surviving spouse take care of as well, including having the deceased spouses name taken off of any joint bank accounts or joint brokerage accounts, applying for any death benefits that are to pass the surviving spouse by beneficiary designation (such as life insurance, IRAs, 401ks, annuities, etc.), and taking the deceased spouse’s name off any vehicles jointly owned by both spouses.
In the event your spouse recently passed away, and you have questions or concerns about how to best handle the transfer and administration of your jointly held assets or any assets your spouse left to someone other than you by will or trust, you should seek the advice and guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney. The Law Offices of Eric A. Rudolph P.C. can help you to transfer your jointly held assets and your deceased spouses separate property.