After the death of the settlor of a single-person revocable trust, one of the trustee’s first tasks is to gather the information required to properly administer the trust and inventory the trust’s assets. This checklist makes it much easier to get everything needed.

Gather the following information and documents:

___ 1. Originals of all wills and codicils.

___ 2. Originals of all trusts and amendments established by decedent.

___ 3. Most recent bank statements for accounts on which decedent’s name appears as either sole or co-owner in any capacity and copy of signature card for each account. Copies of monthly statements.

___ 4. All passbooks and savings certificates on which decedent’s name appears.

___ 5. Most recent statements for all mutual fund and stock brokerage accounts. Copies of monthly statements.

___ 6. Certified copies of death certificate (3 copies at least).

___ 7. All IRA and qualified pension benefit documents, including beneficiary designation forms and plan descriptions.

___ 8. Certificates of title (“pink slips”) for all automobiles, recreational vehicles, boats, trailers, motorcycles, and airplanes in which decedent had any ownership interest.

___ 9. All life insurance policies and annuity contracts, including beneficiary designation forms.

___ 10.  All deeds to real property in which decedent had any interest and copies of any notes or deeds of trust to which such properties are subject.

___ 11. All leases for all real property on which decedent was either the landlord or tenant.

___ 12. Most recent personal income tax return.

___ 13. Copies of all gift, estate, and/or generation-skipping transfer tax returns ever filed by decedent or decedent’s spouse at any time in the past.

___ 14. Most recent financial statements and tax returns for any partnership or other closely held business.

___ 15. Copies of any partnership agreements, buy-sell agreements, and corporate records for any partnership or closely held corporation.

___ 16. A list of tangible personal property items that, individually or as a group or collection, have a fair market value in excess of $3000 (e.g., jewelry, art, antiques, or coin, stamp, book, gun, or wine collections).

___ 17. Copies of all bills for expenses of last illness, such as hospital and doctor bills, and an itemized list of all funeral and related expenses.

___ 18. A list of any known debts, liabilities, pending lawsuits, or other claims of or against decedent.

___ 19. Copies of any trust of which decedent was a trustee or beneficiary at the time of death.

___ 20. A list of all safe deposit boxes on which decedent’s name appears, by bank and branch, and an inventory of the contents of each.

___ 21. All deeds of trust, notes, or accounts receivable representing payments owed to decedent.

___ 22. All stock certificates, bonds, or other securities.

___ 23. Any other documents that you believe may be important to our understanding of decedent’s personal and financial affairs.

This checklist is an excellent tool for attorneys to send to successor trustees. Get the Gaw step-by-step systems approach to administering a single-person living trust after the settlor’s death in CEB’s Administering a Single-Person Trust After Settlor’s Death (Action Guide). Also check out CEB’s California Trust Administration.

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