13 Mindy Hetzel - What to Accomplish in the First Four Months

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On our thirteenth episode of #ProbateNavigated we stop by to visit with Mindy Hetzel.

Mindy Hetzel is the Commissioner of Accounts of Loudon County. Appointed in Dec 2013 by Loudon County circut court, she also maintains a private law practice as an estate and trust attorney with the Leesburge law firm of Hanes and Dickerson. Prior to being appointed as Commissioner she served as a Loudon County Deputy Commissioner of accounts for 7 years.

In this important episode Mindy covers what you must make a priority in the first four months of resolving an estate. Additionally, Mindy covers what to avoid, and the best resources that people can derive great benefit from.

What are the most important things to accomplish in the first 4 months?

  1. Identify the assets

  2. Marshall the assets

  3. Safeguard the assets

Identifying the Assets — Obtain as much information as you can. Take your time and be meticulous because you can be liable for mistakes made.

  • Get mail forwarded

  • Get bank statements and bills

  • Get all financial statements. Get bank statements at date of death

  • Get access to their home

  • Get an idea of tangible personal property

  • Look at check registers to determine if there is a recurring expense.

Marshall the Assets -

  • Go to your bank

  • Make sure account is kept open for mortgage payments

  • Open an estate account to avoid mingling funds

  • Make sure that bank 1) doesn’t charge a fee for statements, 2) there’s no low balance fee 3) they return checks.

  • Understand what your responsibilities and rights are under the will or without a will

  • What to do if you don’t have the power to sell or don’t have a will.

  • If you do have the power of sale you want to 1) make sure you have vacant homeowners insurance 2) pay the mortgage 3) have new locks on doors 4) ensure safety of property

  • Make sure you keep the property in status quo position. Don’t let the property deteriorate.

Safeguard the Assets

  • Make sure to keep the property in the shape that it is in.

  • If you do have the power of sale you want to 1) make sure you have vacant homeowners insurance 2) pay the mortgage 3) have new locks on doors 4) ensure safety of property

Value the Assets

  • Get appraisal on personal property or real estate

  • Vehicles — KBB

  • Get professional appraisals for items like antiques and jewelry

  • Start a list for inventory of assets. This inventory is a list of every item the decedent had. This one is one of the easier documents.

What are the biggest mistakes fiduciaries consistently make?

  1. Co-mingling estate assets. It’s a logistical nightmare. Don’t do it. Open an account, put money in it, and only use that account.

  2. Tangible personal property and real property

  3. Not filing with us on time or not giving us a call when there is an issue.

What are some bad recommendations that you consistently hear?

  1. Hiring the wrong attorney or accountant. Make sure they are very familiar with the probate process. Some of Mindy’s worst stories come from attorney’s and CPA’s that aren’t’ familiar with probate. Make sure, if you hire a professional, that they’ve done this work before.

  2. Be very aware that the individuals you are hiring are doing work that YOU CANNOT do. Every professional you hire you are reducing your fiduciary compensation.

What are you favorite resources for people going through Probate?

  • Get through the probate information packet. It will give you an overview that will make everything much easier.

  • Jack Rust commissioner of accounts has a great website.

  • Due dates — print those out immediately and put that on a board somewhere so you keep this in mind

You can connect with Mindy below:

P | 703–777–5300

W | https://www.loudoun.gov

Want to connect with me? Simply reach out on any of the social media platforms below:

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Ready to Simplify?

I’ve created a cheat sheet for resolving YOUR ESTATE. If you follow this, your role as an executor or personal representative will be far simpler.

Get the cheat sheet here!

12 Marissa Bagasra — How to Discern Whether or Not You Should Assume the Role of Executor

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On our twelfth episode of #ProbateNavigated we stop by to visit with Marissa Bagasra.

Marissa R. Bagasra is an associate with SmolenPlevy. She is a member of the Bars in Virginia and Maryland. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Bagasra was a law clerk for John H. Rust, Jr., Commissioner of Accounts for Fairfax County. Ms. Bagasra is a member of the Virginia Bar Association, Fairfax Bar Association, and Virginia Women Attorneys Association. Her practice areas include estate planning, estate administration, and probate litigation.

I very much enjoyed our discuss together. In this episode Marissa covers a range of important topics including how to evaluate whether or not you should undertake the role of executor, what the implications of being an executor are, how to assess the complexity of your estate, mistakes to avoid and more. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

How to evaluate whether or not you should undertake the role of executor

  1. Is this something that you want to do? Undertaking the role of an executor is a “want to do” not a “have to do.”

  2. How much time can you give to this? Being a fiduciary comes with a significant time commitment.

  3. Can you act impartially? You must treat everyone the same.

  4. Is your appointment as an executor in the best interest of the estate? Are you the best one in the family to take on this role?

How to assess the complexity or your estate

  1. Understand that every estate will be different

  2. Get a strong grasp of assets vs liabilities through gathering all relevant documents and information re: the estate

  3. You won’t know until you quality, get a credit report, until you search unclaimed property and enough time has passed that you have sufficient knowledge of assets and liabilities.

What are the implications of assuming this role?

  1. When you become an executor in VA you are taking on the responsibility to ensure that all of the decedent’s assets are distributed appropriately.

  2. Once an executor always an executor. You remain responsible for the estate for life. In general you need to be prepared that you are responsible for this person’s assets for the foreseeable future.

  3. As executor you are responsible for filing any tax returns for the decedent.

Common Mistakes to Avoid:

  1. Qualifying as an executor too early before having an understanding of the assets and liabilities of an estate. Every case is different but there is no rush. As a general rule of thumb you have time. Gather the mail, talk with family, speak with a professional then make the decision whether or not you should qualify and when

  2. Executors in VA are rightfully entitled to compensation for their work. However, the way compensation is calculated is complex. Consult with your attorney or commissioner of accounts before compensation is given

  3. Paying creditors too early or in the wrong priority. If an estate is in any danger of having more debts to assets you have to be very, very careful with the money that goes out of that estate account. There are parameters for paying creditors and in what order. Wait to pay creditors until you have a full picture of your situation.

Alternatives of Being an Executor:

  1. Review the will to determine if there is a successor named in the will

  2. If there is no will then the closest heir at law is the individual that has priority to serve. Generally a spouse or child. Beyond this it goes up and out of the family tree.

  3. One can waive their right to qualify to another individual or to a corporate entity.

Important Tip:

  1. You’re dealing with grief, family and money. When these things come together it can be very difficult. It is better to proceed with caution than go full steam ahead in haste.

You can visit the Commissioner of Accounts Site here



You can download the FREE Guide to the Administration of Decedent’s Estates in Virginia here

You can connect with Marissa below:

P | (703) 790–1900

E | mrbagasra@smolenplevy.com

W | https://smolenplevy.com

Want to connect with me? Simply reach out on any of the social media platforms below:

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Ready to Simplify?

I’ve created a cheat sheet for resolving YOUR ESTATE. If you follow this, your role as an executor or personal representative will be far simpler.

Get the cheat sheet here!

11 Duke Walker - Property and Probate

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On our eleventh episode of #ProbateNavigated we stop by to visit with Duke Walker.

Duke Walker is the branch manager at Movement Mortgage in Washington DC and a good friend of mine.

In this episode Duke covers where mortgage issues and probate intersect, questions to ask your lender, most important things to deal with right away, and some costly mistakes to avoid

Questions to ask the lender:

  1. Are taxes and insurance of property escrowed (meaning included in the mortgage payment)? If they aren’t escrowed you need to make sure that you’ve allocated enough funds to pay taxes and insurance and when they are each due
  2. Can I get on the mortgage note?

Mistakes to Avoid:

  1. Deferring important action items
  2. Be cautious with people reaching out that might be trying to take advantage of you

You can connect with Duke below:

P | (703) 599–8601

E | duke.walker@movement.com

W | https://movement.com/lo/duke-walker/

Want to connect with me? Simply reach out on any of the social media platforms below:

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Ready to Simplify?

I’ve created a cheat sheet for resolving YOUR ESTATE. If you follow this, your role as an executor or personal representative will be far simpler.

Get the cheat sheet here!

 

10 Deb Bumbaugh — How to Deal with Grief and Grieving

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On our tenth episode of #ProbateNavigated we visit with Deborah Bumbaugh. Deborah is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who received her MSW from The University of Maryland. She is also a licensed psychotherapist with Curt Thompson and Associates.

If you are dealing with grief this episode is a must listen to. Deborah addresses multiple issues including: most important factors to deal with in dealing with loss, how to practice self-awareness, how to engage with other family members, how to set boundaries and much more.

What are the Most Important Factors to Address when Dealing with Grief:

  1. Know that you’re not alone.
  2. The grief process isn’t linear.
  3. When grief emerges, connect with it and ask: What do I need?
  4. Be aware of unhealthy ways of numbing pain. You can discern any unhealthy choices by asking this question: Am I doing anything that I can’t stop doing and that has negative consequences?
  5. Give your brain a break on purpose.
  6. Use basic healthy strategies to heal. For example, healthy nutrition, exercise, community

How to Deal with Conflict:

  1. Take time to discern what is causing the conflict
  2. Carefully consider getting outside counsel

Resources Mentioned:

  1. Grief Share
  2. On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss
  3. Switch On Your Brain The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking and Health

You can connect with Deborah below:

E | Deborah Bumbaugh: deborahmarieb@gmail.com

W | www.curtthompsonassociates.com

Want to connect with me? Simply reach out on any of the social media platforms below:

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Ready to Simplify?

I’ve created a cheat sheet for resolving YOUR ESTATE. If you follow this, your role as an executor or personal representative will be far simpler.

Get the cheat sheet here!

09 The Sanborn Team - Why Working with a Proven Probate Real Estate Agent Matters

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On our ninth episode of #ProbateNavigated we visit with Nancy Sanborn and Brian Joy of the Sanborn Team. Nancy Sanborn is Executive Director of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties Probate and Trust Sales Division and one of the industry’s most consistent and reliable sales professionals. For more than 30 years, she has developed her far-reaching network and built a team that provides unequaled expertise. Her clients include some of California’s most prestigious attorneys, accountants, trustees, administrators and conservators, and most distinguished property owners.

Brian Joy is a 17-year veteran of the real estate industry and has been a Sanborn Team member/partner since 2008. For ten years, his passion has been to assist clients as they navigate the complex world of real property transactions through probate, trust and conservatorship.

This episode is jam packed with super helpful content including: how to interview a probate real estate agent, the probate real estate process, how to manage this process, costly mistakes to avoid in probate and much more.

What Questions to ask When Interviewing a Probate Real Estate Agent:

  1. Have you sold real property through probate or trust?
  2. How long have you been selling probate and trust real estate?
  3. How is a probate/trust sale different from a typical real estate transaction?
  4. What sets you apart from other real estate agents?
  5. May I see your references?
  6. How do you market probate and trust real estate?
  7. Do you have sample documents that I would have to sign and read?

Common Mistakes that Agents without Probate Experience Make:

  1. They alter the property instead of leaving the property “as-is”
  2. They don’t provide appropriate documentation

Probate Real Estate Process — You Can See the Sanborn’s Team VERY popular Flowchart Here

  1. Work with a trusted legal advisor and the right guides
  2. Agent(s) see the house and get the property ready for the market
  3. Working with real estate community to assist in buying property
  4. Close Escrow

5 Costly Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Setting your asking price too high
  2. Relying on out-of-date information
  3. Not reading the fine print as a seller
  4. Not keeping a track record of expenses
  5. Waiting too long to address probate issues

You can watch the Sanborn’s compelling explainer videos here

You can visit The Sanborn Team’s Website Here

You can access the FREE resource on How to Interview a Probate Real Estate Agent here

You can access the FREE resource on the Probate Real Estate Sale Process Here

You can connect with Nancy and Brian below:

E | Nancy Sanborn: nancy@sanbornteam.com

E | Brian Joy: Brian@brianajoy.com

W | www.sanbornteam.com

Want to connect with me? Simply reach out on any of the social media platforms below:

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Ready to Simplify?

I’ve created a cheat sheet for resolving YOUR ESTATE. If you follow this, your role as an executor or personal representative will be far simpler.

Get the cheat sheet here!

 

Kelly Pinckard (Part 2) — How to Make Your Life Easier by Delighting Your Commissioner of Accounts

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Our eighth episode of #ProbateNavigated features part 2 of my interview with the remarkable Kelly Pinckard, CPA and founder of Estate Accounting Solutions.

If you missed part one, you can find it here

In part two Kelly engages the following important topics:

  • Preparing taxes by yourself vs professional
  • Common mistakes and bad recommendations to avoid
  • “Do it yourself” insights and tips for preparing estate tax returns
  • Tips for resolving an insolvent estate

You can visit Kelly’s website here

You can access the FREE Guide to the Administration of Decedent’s Estates in Virginia here

You can access the free resources on Kelly’s website here

You can connect with Kelly below:

E | kelly@estateaccountingsolutions.com

W | www.estateaccountingsolutions.com

F | www.facebook.com/EstateAccountingSolutions

Want to connect with me? Simply reach out on any of the social media platforms below:

Connect with me on Facebook

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Ready to Simplify?

I’ve created a cheat sheet for resolving YOUR ESTATE. If you follow this, your role as an executor or personal representative will be far simpler.

Get the cheat sheet here!

Kelly Pinckard - How to Make Your Life Easier by Delighting your Commissioner of Accounts

On our seventh episode of #ProbateNavigated we visit with Kelly Pinckard, CPA and founder of Estate Accounting Solutions, a Virginia-based accounting firm that specializes in the preparation of fiduciary accounting reports for estates, trusts, conservatorships, and guardianships, as well as all related tax returns.

With a background in auditing, Kelly knows exactly what the Commissioners of Accounts want to see when a fiduciary files his or her annual accounting reports, and maintains an excellent reputation with Commissioners of Accounts all over Virginia.

This episode is filled with so much great content we’ve decided to make it into 2 parts. Part 1 covers, a range of important topics including why making a calendar for what is due and when is critical, why expecting closing your estate in less than 6 months is often unrealistic, why ensuring order of priority with asset distribution is crucial, and more. In part two Kelly gives some great tips and resources for all of you DIY’er’s and provides some much needed clarity for those of you dealing with an insolvent estate.

Map for Navigating an Estate Tax Return:

  1. Make the plan
  2. Follow the plan
  3. Ask for help when you feel you need it
  4. Remember to protect yourself as a Fiduciary
  5. Maintain meticulous records

You can visit Kelly’s website here

You can access the FREE Guide to the Administration of Decedent’s Estates in Virginia here

You can access the free resources on Kelly’s website here

You can connect with Kelly below:

E | kelly@estateaccountingsolutions.com

W | www.estateaccountingsolutions.com

F | www.facebook.com/EstateAccountingSolutions

Want to connect with me? Simply reach out on any of the social media platforms below:

Connect with me on Facebook

Connect with me on Instagram

Connect with me on Twitter

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Ready to Simplify?

I’ve created a cheat sheet for resolving YOUR ESTATE. If you follow this, your role as an executor or personal representative will be far simpler.

Get the cheat sheet here!

Marlene Stum — Facing the Great Divide, and Deciding Who Get’s What “Inherited Memories”

On our sixth episode of #ProbateNavigated we stop by to visit with Marlene Stum, Ph.D.

Marlene S. Stum, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota. Marlene is most known for Who Gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate?™ a program internationally recognized for supporting families in non-titled property decisions. She is nationally recognized for her research and prevention education. Additionally, She currently leads a unique research project examining the meaning and experience of “fair” inheritances from the perspective of older parents and adult children in the same family system.

In this episode Marlene covers topics including, why its important to take time to understand why this issue can be so sensitive to your family, why and how to determine what you are trying to accomplish, deciding what is fair for your unique situation, why you should take time to really understand what the “meaning” is regarding specific objects to specific individuals, discerning what the distribution options and consequences are, and agreeing on how to manage conflicts when they arise just to name a few topics. I really enjoyed visiting with Marlene. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Map for Navigating Personal Property Issues in Probate:

  1. Take time to understand why this issue can be so sensitive to your family
  2. Determine what you are trying to accomplish
  3. Decide what is fair for your unique situation
  4. Take time to really understand what the “meaning” is regarding specific objects to specific individuals
  5. Discern what the distribution options and consequences are
  6. Agree on how to manage conflicts when they arise

You can visit Marlene’s website here

You can connect with Marlene through the information below:

E | mstum@umn.edu

W | Who Gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate

Ready to Simplify?

I’ve created a cheat sheet for resolving YOUR ESTATE. If you follow this, your role as an executor or personal representative will be far simpler.

Get the cheat sheet here!

Allen Herzberg - How to Get Through the "Jungle of Probate"

On our fourth episode of #ProbateNavigated we stop by to visit with Allen Herzberg, P.C.

This discussion covers topics including how to prepare estate taxes, tips on choosing the right "tax guide," who to invite to be on your "pit crew", and a valuable resource to benefit from as you resolve your estate. I really enjoyed visiting with Allen as there’s a lot of actionable advice. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

James Granoski — Why Working with an Attorney with Litigation Experience is Important, Key Tips, Mistakes to Avoid and Much More

On our fifth episode of #ProbateNavigated we stop by to visit with James Granoski.

James has been practicing law since 1991. He has represented clients and appeared in courts in Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Florida. James is an experienced litigator and transaction attorney, with a broad-based background of legal work, which includes civil, criminal and commercial litigation, commercial contracts, real estate, probate and landlord/tenant representation. 

I very much enjoyed our discuss together. In this episode James covers topics including why working with an estate attorney that can not just write estate administration plans but enforce them is important, key resources to avail yourself to, what an attorney will and will not do, key conversations to have with your attorney, worst mistakes that many make but are avoidable, and bad recommendations to avoid to name just a few. I really enjoyed visiting with James as there’s a lot of actionable advice. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Tips:

  1. Have essential documents in one place and well organized.
  2. Give clear, crips answers to your attorney. 
  3. Get the checklist at the back of Guide to the Administration of Decedent’s Estates in Virginia

Questions to ask attorneys to discern the best possible fit:

  1. Have you won alot of cases like this?
  2. Have you worked through a case like ours?
  3. How much time will this take?
  4. What is the scope of their involvement? If I do this, given my background, do you think I will get into trouble?

Summary of Four Important Actions Executors Must Take

  1. Locate the will
  2. Know who the relatives are and their contact information
  3. Know what the decedent owned both in his/her name and jointly with others 
  4. Know whether or not the decedent had a trust

You can download the FREE Guide to the Administration of Decedent’s Estates in Virginia here

You can connect with James through the information below:

P | 703.300.2786

E | jamesgranoski@gmail.com

W | JamesGranoski.com

 

Ready to Simplify?

I’ve created a cheat sheet for resolving YOUR ESTATE. If you follow this, your role as an executor or personal representative will be far simpler.

Get the cheat sheet here!

Doneen Hoffman - How to Get Checks not Bills for Personal Property

On our third episode of #ProbateNavigated we stop by to visit with Doneen Hoffman, owner of Estate Professional Services.

This discussion covers topics including how to handle personal property in your estate, mistakes to avoid, and how to get checks not bills for any personal property. I really enjoyed visiting with Doneen. 

Tips:

  1. Visit Estate Sales site to know what questions to ask a personal property specialist
  2. Don’t assume your property’s value
  3. Interview at least 2 personal property companies to find best fit

You can reach Doneen below:

P | 703.472.5211

E | doneenhoffman@yahoo.com

W | Estate Professional Services

F | Estate Professional Services Facebook Page

Tips for Choosing an Estate Sale Company
Use these tips to help choose a professional estate sale company for your family. It is an important decision and…www.estatesales.net

 

Ready to Simplify?

I’ve created a cheat sheet for resolving YOUR ESTATE. If you follow this, your role as an executor or personal representative will be far simpler.

Get the cheat sheet here!

 

Bryan Aguirre — How to Mitigate Risk, Insurance Related Mistakes to Avoid, & More

On our second episode of #ProbateNavigated we stop by to visit with Bryan Aguirre, managing partner at Capital Insurance Partners.

This discussion covers topics including how to ensure your estate assets have insurance coverage, mistakes to avoid, and a checklist to follow as you resolve your estate. I really enjoyed visiting with Bryan as there’s a lot of actionable advice. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Tips:

  1. Call the agent on file within 30 days of decedent’s passing
  2. Ensure that you have vacant home owners insurance. Check with your agent on file.
  3. Get numerous copies of the death certificate. You can get additional copies here
  4. Have essential documents in one place and well organized.

Questions to ask the agent on file:

  1. What does the auto policy coverage include? Does it cover vehicle usage for estate matters only?
  2. What limitations are there on the policy after 30 days?
  3. Who can drive the vehicle(s) and who can’t?
  4. Does the estate sale company provide a certificate of insurance to cover stolen items?
  5. What is the coverage on any item inside the house? Is there coverage for stolen valuables? What about liability should anyone fall and hurt themselves during an estate sale?

You can download the Checklist here

You can explore Bryan’s services below by clicking the link

Click here to find out more about Bryan.

You can reach Bryan below:

P | 301.704.3117

E | baguirre@capitalinspartners.com

W | Capital Insurance Partners

 

Ready to Simplify?

I’ve created a cheat sheet for resolving YOUR ESTATE. If you follow this, your role as an executor or personal representative will be far simpler.

Get the cheat sheet here!

Aaron Groen — Financial Advisor on How to Identify Best Financial Advisor, and Bad Advice to Avoid

On our first episode of #ProbateNavigated we stop by to visit with Aaron Groen, financial advisor at Ron Blue.

This discussion covers topics including how to identify the best financial advisor that is legally obligated to seek your best interest, bad advice to avoid, and how to simplify investing. I really enjoyed visiting with Aaron as there’s a lot of actionable advice. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. 

Questions to ask an advisor:

  1. How do you get paid?
  2. Can I talk with existing clients that are like me?
  3. How long have you been doing this?
  4. Have you ever gotten in trouble?

You can visit these sites to engage in researching particular advisors. 

Below are the two resources Aaron recommended:

You can explore Aaron’s Estate Settlement services below by clicking the link

Click here to explore Trust and Estate Settlement Services. 

You can reach Aaron Groen below:

P | 410.891.2900

E | Aaron.Groen@ronblue.com

W | Aaron at Ron Blue

 

Ready to Simplify?

I’ve created a cheat sheet for resolving YOUR ESTATE. If you follow this, your role as an executor or personal representative will be far simpler.

Get the cheat sheet here!