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38

No one can tell what will or will not be a good investment in the future. However -- Berkshire Hathaway's annual newsletter to shareholders has, for the past several years, discussed this. Warren Buffett is 89, and his right-hand-man Charlie Munger is 96. They know they're not getting any younger and they're not going to live forever. They have been making ...


32

TL;DR State keeps everything. What exactly happens largely depends on the particular state's probate laws. These laws are notoriously complicated and vary greatly between the states. In very rough lines, here's what happens using California as an example. If a family member left a valid will, the assets are going to be distributed according to the will. ...


14

After a bit of searching, I found a Wall Street Journal article from 2012, “MetLife Settles Unclaimed Life-Benefit Probe”, and a follow-up article the same year “Michigan Joins Metlife Settlement Regarding Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits”. Apparently, MetLife was involved in a class action suit in 2012 regarding their practice of closing life insurance ...


10

I believe that the insurance company wants to discourage people from making money by committing suicide. If the insurance company covered suicide for the whole term then a suicidal person with $10,000 could end their life and leave their family $40,000. This not only hurts the company's profitability, but it also (to a very small degree!) encourages people ...


10

In the US, this is mostly governed by state law, with some federal oversight. (if your question pertains to a different country I will delete this answer) The estate owns the account upon the owner's death. The bank is required by the SEC to make reasonable attempts to notify the account holder, and ultimately report the unclaimed property after a period of ...


9

No matter how the money was received/inherited by the parent, the receiver of the gift (in this case the child) will not owe any taxes. If it is below the annual gift exclusion the parent will not owe any taxes or need to fill out any forms. If it is above the annual exclusion then it will depend on how the money was transfer to the child/grand children. ...


9

As others have said, this is largely a legal question. The first issue is, did your mother sign the loan documents, or give your sister a power of attorney? If not, the loan may be fraudulent. If your sister did not have any legal title to the home, well, I'm not a lawyer, but I don't see how she could legally take out a mortgage against property that she ...


9

Federal Student Loans Federal Student Loans are discharged with the borrower's death, regardless of who co-signed the loan. PLUS Loans (and Parent PLUS Loans) PLUS loans are discharged on the death of the borrower. In the case of Parent PLUS Loans, if the parent(s) out-live the student, the loan can be discharged through the Death Discharge application. (...


9

Your estate would still be responsible for paying off the debt. That is your responsibility as a co-signer. Occasionally, people take out life insurance as part of the loan, which (depending on the terms) may kick in upon your death and pay off the loan. If your son has stopped paying the loans, you may want to consider garnisheeing any wages he earns to ...


9

You might want to have a family representative ask the doctors office, or hospital, to recommend a financial/legal planner that handles families where a person has a terminal disease. They can help review all your options regarding this patient. For planning purposes is probably best to expect that the insurance policy will not be paid out. The insurance ...


8

People have written books of these checklists. In addition to the information listed in other answers, they mention labeling the keys on your keyring and getting a list of all of the people you do recurring but infrequent business with (dentist, hairdresser, veterinarian). The better books have forms to fill out and pockets into which to insert important ...


7

401(k) and 403(b) plans may have different rules, depending on the plan (read the plan documents for more details), but in general they can be inherited without tax penalties beyond regular income tax. Specifically, as a spouse you can typically either take a lump-sum distribution from the 401(k) and pay income tax on it (but not the 10% penalty), or you ...


7

Checklist: Names of all financial accounts (brokerage, bank, money market, annuity) Insurance policies (car, home, business, private, military, medical, disability) Motor Vehicle Bureau Notification list (pension, Social Security, Veteran's Administration) Recurring payment list (utilities, homeowner's association) Credit card info Credit agencies Mortgage ...


6

A more recent article on inheritance taxes than the one cited by @JohnBensin says that Maryland does not charge inheritance tax on inheritances received from parents (and other close relatives as well). Thus, there is no inheritance tax due to Maryland on your inheritance, and of course, estate tax (both Federal and State) is imposed on the estate and ...


6

The short version is that the state government claims the estate when no relatives can be found and no will/estate plan exists. How the government uses that varies by state. From Legal Zoom: Should an individual die intestate, or without leaving a will, and without having any heirs, the government in the decedent's state of residence will generally ...


6

This page says that heirs have six months to clear the debt one way or the other. Heirs get an initial six months to deal with the loan payoff. And it's to their advantage to move as quickly as possible. Until the loan is settled, interest on the balance and monthly insurance premiums will continue to eat into any remaining equity. This site also gives ...


5

Heirs do not inherit debts, so no. You (or any other heirs) are not responsible for the mortgage. However, assets of an estate can be sold to cover the debts of the deceased. In this case, the bank could force the sale of the house in order to pay the outstanding mortgage balance. "Could" becomes the operative word as whether they choose to go after the ...


5

As others have mentioned insurance is a highly regulated industry. There is a common rule called a contestability period, typically two years. Typically, if you pass within the contestability period an insurer gets to re-review your application and potentially deny claims. There are laws limiting the contestability period to prevent life insurers from ...


5

First, if the bank or admin for the 401(k) said it's too late to reverse, I'd take them at their word. As far as the check goes, it's not uncommon to have to deal with the last checks coming to a deceased person. Without any will, the wife is presumed to be the next of kin, and she should be able to cash the check by showing the bank the husband's death ...


5

how can I keep my website running for posterity after I die? If this is the real problem, incorporate a non-profit corporation or have a lawyer set up a foundation. Those will survive after your death and their bank accounts with them. You might even find someone willing to do this for you. It sounds like a neat business. Collect the ad revenue, ...


5

Since it's a sole proprietorship, all of the business's assets and liabilities will now be owned by the estate. The estate (in the person of the executor or executrix) then handles winding everything down. While still of sound mind and body, the spouse who owns it all should get with an estate attorney and plan all this out (including who will be the ...


5

As its too close to the time a policy was being taken, generally as per the terms one is required to declare such illnesses. This has a very high potential of getting the claim rejected on the grounds of hiding material information. If you inform them now, chances are they will not issue the policy. If you don't then during claims they would question and ...


5

Maryland is one of only two states (as of the writing of that article) that collects both inheritance tax and estate tax. These are two different issues, and it's important to differentiate between them sufficiently. I can't provide you a definitive answer, so consult a tax professional in Maryland for specific details to make sure you don't run afoul of tax ...


5

In FL, you get a letter every year from the property tax man, which lists your applied exemptions and taxes, and it also lists a deadline for any changes. From what you wrote, it looks like you ignored the content for several years, and were charged accordingly higher property taxes. IANAL, but I would assume that by ignoring it, you lost this money ...


5

married jointly for that year and subsequently as "head of household" if you still have children to take care of but confirm from TAX professional.


5

If an insurance policy holder dies, the proceeds go to a second listed beneficiary, and if none are listed, to beneficiaries via will, or last, to the estate of the policy holder. With house insurance, as with car insurance, there can be an issue of rebuilding/repair vs the insurance company claiming total loss, but that's not quite the question here.


4

In the US, an opposite-sex spouse who is a citizen as well, can receive an unlimited inheritance with no tax due from the estate. IRAs and retirement accounts which were pretax accounts, are inherited by a spouse who can then either treat the accounts as her own, i.e. even co-mingle with current IRAs, or treat as inherited IRA, and begin RMDs. In which case ...


4

Generally speaking the bank accounts and credit card accounts remain open. Banks and the credit card companies don't monitor public records on a daily basis. Instead, whoever is handling your estate will need to obtain copies of your death certificate and they will then search your paper records to identify all accounts (reason to get your act together - ...


4

I don't have any personal experience of actually claiming them, but in the UK lump sum pension benefits are normally paid direct by the pension company to the beneficiaries rather than going through the estate of the deceased. This means they don't need to go through probate or inheritance tax, and should be payable pretty quickly. So even if you have a ...


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