I've been doing lo-level "estate planning" for months. Amazing what a
PITA it can be.
"What happens when someone dies?"
Specifically, what chain of legal and other events takes place?
Mr. X, single and living alone, has a massive stroke in his home and is found
stone-cold dead by a neighbor, who notifies a relative.
Relative calls ambulance which transports remains to hospital where
doc registers death with state?
How long does it commonly take to get a death certificate?
Etc, etc, etc.
Mr. X lives in Missouri, if anyone has specific knowledge of that state.
I can say, with quintessential authority, that you've not *LIVED* until you've
spent an hour or 2 perusing several pages of fine print in what may well be
your own pre-need contract for cremation. <g>
"Whotever you do in this life, don't never EVER get old!" :-)
Unless there are some unusual circumstances, a death certificate
should be obtainable within a day or two. The bigger issue is making
sure the person has a valid will to specify any details of the
funeral, burial/cremation, how any assets of the estate are
distributed and who is appointed executor to carry out the above.
Absent a will, states have a pecking order established by law that
determines who gets what.
That would be quite quickly ime...it took closer to a month before the
State of KS issued the actual certified death certificates that will be
needed for the details of supplying to whomever will need copies to
handle the transfer of any assets, life insurance, bank accounts, etc.,
etc., etc., ...
That's two normal passings of parents in the last 8 years experience.
Other states may vary...
On Sat, 29 Mar 2008 10:47:59 -0600, Peetie Wheatstraw
The biggest thing you can do is be sure you have the people who you
want to get your stuff on the title or account with clear rights of
survivor. In Florida banks can add a person to an account as Payable
on Death. They can't take your money until you die but then it is
available immediately. That is handy to handle the costs of getting
your dead ass in the ground. When my last parent died the accounts
were all set up that way and there wasn't any hassle at all. (no will,
no lawyers and no taxes). I was surprised that we didn't even have a
problem retitling the car. DMV just wanted a copy of the death
certificate. That comes from the funeral home ... as soon as you pay
the bill. Social Security gets notifiied by the funeral home but they
won't stop sending the paymernts for a while ... don't spend that
money! Sam will want all that money back. They EFT it right out of the
account if you direct deposit. If not, I suppose the IRS comes after
Keep at least one joint account open for a year or so to flush any
extra payments, checks or other things you come up with through.
Well, I shoulda stated that the aforementioned estate-planning
PITA has included all manner of "Pay On Death", "Transfer On
Death", and Revocable Living Trust stuff. It's not complete,
and there are still details I don't know, but virtually
nothing will be left to idiot-probate.
On Sat, 29 Mar 2008 15:36:13 -0500, email@example.com wrote:
Without a death cert.?
I eschew the worm, and embrace the flame. :-)
So, if covered by fully paid pre-need contract, the funeral home can issue a
DC as soon as they've brought you in and determined you're dead/kaput/pues-
Must sign the certificate and then it's filed w/ the State. All the
funeral home can do is to facilitate your getting copies from the state
which is the only one who can provide the authorized copies any
legitimate organization will need.
That takes a variable amount of time, depending on the State...it seems
like the first we requested from the funeral home (as part of their
service package, nothing really they do except submit the request to the
State for you at the time) were available in about a week but it took
quite a while for request for some additional to be processed which is
what I was thinking about in an earlier response.
Each state will undoubtedly be somewhat different in the details but
generalities are the same...
Some people seem to think the funeral director issues the death
certificate. I know of nowhere where that is true. The death
certificate is issued by a government office, and how long it takes
depends mostly on whether the death is suspicious. If you die I a
hospital and a doctor signs the certificate, it should be issued within
days; if they just find you dead, they may have to do an autopsy (as
would they if you were plainly the victim of an attack) and that can
take months. The funeral director handles getting the certificate from
the government, since he needs it before he can inter.
If its your death you are planning (forget that don't get old crap; you
either get old or die, no other choices), some would say don't worry
about anything, since your estate won't be your problem once you are
gone. If you are having trouble with the planning, try to get someone
to do it for you, but beware that there are a lot of sharks swimming in
the estate planning ocean, and some may not have your best interests in
mind. I know some people who have gone to estate planning sessions,
gotten a free meal, and ended up paying thousands for something they
don't really need. Some seniors groups, like AARP (I'm not endorsing
them)may offer useful advice.
Peetie Wheatstraw wrote:
Well where I live both are true.
The funeral director issues a document titled "Proof of Death Certificate".
This is good for about 90% of what you need a death certificate for, and
this can usually be issued within a day or two of death. Some agencies
require the official government death certificate and yes, there can be some
delay involved in getting this one.
I am going through that now with the recent death of a parent. Here's
what I've run into so far:
- Funeral was prepaid (mostly). There was additional expenses of the
obituary ($1 per word) and cost of death certificates (get at least
- Cemetary plot, marker, grave opening & closing were not prepaid in
this case. ($4k)
- Plan for casket flower sprays. ($200-$500ea.)
- Plan on $1k-$5k for a lawyer to probate the Will if it needs it. Not
all Wills have to be probated in court.
- Death certificates arrived in about a week.
- There was a Will, but one child was specifically left out. Big
problems with probating due to the possibility of that child
contesting the Will. Always leave each heir something even if it's a
minimum amount. Saves trouble for the rest of the heirs.
- Make sure there is at least 1 joint/trustee banking account so that
bills can be paid and checks received after death can be deposited.
- Social Security withdrew the last check issued. They will not
reissue it to the estate if there are any surviving kin, but will
reissue it to the spouse, if any, or divide it between the surviving
- Scrutinize bills carefully. There are those who will take advantage
of the situation.
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