Marshalling assets in Lombard probate cases means liquidating personal property, real property, and stocks, and gathering them into one acount in the name of the estate. Basically, it is any assets belonging to the probate estate. In Illinois, the personal representative is required to gather all the assets that were in the decedent’s name at the time of his or her death. For help with this process, one may want to turn to a dedicated probate lawyer. Call today and set up a consultation.
There are several different sources of information for the property of the decedent to get located and identified. These assets may be identified in the decedent’s prior tax returns. As part of the administration, a representative should redirect the decedent’s mail to him or her, such as monthly statements and other documents identifying assets. He or she would be able to see that the decedent had accounts at various banks or got dividend checks representing stock holdings. Other documents, such as deeds and vehicle titles, may be kept in a certain spot by the decedent. Also, there might be a safety deposit box or specific filing cabinet that contains all the financial records of the decedent.
There are recordkeeping requirements involved with marshalling the assets in Lombard probate cases. When the assets of an estate have been identified, the attorney would prepare an inventory, which will serve as a starting point of the administration. The inventory would identify each asset, whether it is a vehicle account, a parcel of real estate, or other asset, along with its value as of the date of the appointment if that value could be ascertained. As a representative, he or she should be able to trace the providence of the assets from the inventory to his or her final disposition, whether they are sold, converted into cash, paid to creditors, or paid to beneficiaries. If assets are later discovered, the inventory could always be amended.
A major factor that could complicate marshalling the assets is the individual stock holding factor. These days, massive stock holdings are mostly held in brokerage accounts, so they are more centralized. Particularly with elderly individuals, they may still have stocks located everywhere.
Another factor is if assets are in numerous financial institutions as opposed to various accounts at a few banks or maybe all at one bank, which is the best case scenario. Many times, each different financial institution would require a letter, a form, or even a visit that could complicate the marshalling process.
Another example is out-of-state real estate. Often times, the representative would need to take steps to ensure that the real estate is properly secured and ensured. This could mean either visiting the real estate, which could be a long distance away.
A factor that could complicate the process is if the decedent did not keep records, did not keep his or her records in the same spot for ease of finding, or was not very organized.
The first and foremost factor that could make marshalling assets easier is organized recordkeeping by the decedent. He or she may have a specific folder or specific file cabinet with all his or her up-to-date financial records. He or she may even have a specific folder with all his or her tax returns, which would give great insight as to the locations and the amount of assets.
Many times where important papers are, including where financial records are, would be part of the conversation that a representative has with the decedent before they pass away. If there are no records and he or she is not lucky in that regard, another source of assistance could be the decedent’s accountant. If the decedent had a long time accountant, the accountant should at the very least have access to his or her past tax returns to provide the information as to where the decedent may have kept his or her assets.
Some important things to know and common misconceptions about marshalling the assets in Lombard probate cases is that all liquid assets, such as bank accounts, financial accounts, and brokerage accounts, should be transferred into a single estate checking account. Many times representatives believe that he or she should transfer everything into his or her name and then transfer money from there. He or she should set up an estate account so that the estate would have a separate tax ID number than the decedent or the personal representative, and all transactions, marshaling, and transferring should flow though that one estate checking account.
If there is a large amount of liquid assets, it is recommended that the personal representative speak with his or her attorney and consider opening a brokerage account in the name of the estate to invest the estate in very low risk investments. For more information about marshalling assets, contact an attorney today.