Successor Trustee Checklist-Funeral Process

Successor Trustee Checklist-Funeral Process

Upon the death of the Grantor, there are a number of requirements to be fulfilled in order to process the trust and handle the family’s needs.  This is a checklist to help you navigate through the emotional and administrative challenges during this most difficult of times:

  • Make sure all relatives on the pre-death checklist are notified of grantor’s death
  • Notify banks, brokers, financial advisors, and the grantor’s trust lawyer.
  • Notify insurance companies. Obtain instructions for filing claims. Most insurance companies will only give notice to the beneficiary of the policy. Notifying the company will begin that process. If the trust is the beneficiary, you, as the Trustee, will need to apply for benefits.
  • Notify Credit Card issuers and close out the account. Also, if death was due to an accident, some cards like American Express may provide accidental death insurance.
  • Notify the post office to forward mail to your address so that you can receive any bills, checks or other mail of the grantor.
  • Notify the Social Security Administration, and ask for claim forms
  • Notify the Veterans Administration if the grantor is a veteran, for honorary guard ceremony and ask for claim forms
  • Notify telephone service and utilities.
  • Notify all beneficiaries on your acceptance of the Trust and provide  your full name and address as the Trustee. We suggest you provide each beneficiary named in the trust with a copy of the trust agreement including all amendments.
  • Notify the personnel or human resources department at decedent's place of employment or former place of employment.
  • Notify the grantor’s associations they were members in.
  • Secure the properties, change the locks if necessary, and advise the police of the vacancy.

A number of required filings will keep the successor trustee busy during the funeral stage of the trust.

  • File original Will with Probate Court or the Clerk of Court. Most states require that you file the Will immediately or within a certain number of days after the death of the decedent. You will need to check with the County Clerk or Probate court to find out where to send the Will, if you do not have advice from the grantor’s trust and estate lawyer.
  • Record Death Certificate in City/County where decedent or trust owned real property. This will remove the decedent's name from the property tax rolls and provide evidence of ownership if the property is to be sold.
  • File Notice of Trust with Probate Court or Clerk of Court, to help notify creditors of the grantor. This may not be required in some states.