Estates and executors -- what do you wish you'd known

correct. PoD/ToD supercede whatever the will or Trust says (unless the Trust is a named beneficiary). Ditto life insurance policies.


Or if the trust is the owner of the account the assets stay in the trust after death and are distributed per the trust designations

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I am in between two states, in the process moving from one to the other. An attorney I interviewed in the new state insisted on having Certificate of Trust. I don’t have it currently and my original attorney doesn’t think it is something you need. Does your trust come with a Certification of some kind?

check your states’ websites. I was able to get a certificate of trust in ORE (Mom) and CA (Dad) and ID (Dad) by just filling out the form and having it notarized. The certificate of trust was handy because it is one piece of paper and many entities wanted the entire trust and I did NOT want THAT out in the wild. No need for attorney to charge $$ to get one.


I had a Cert of Trust prepared by the attorney after my last parent passed, but it was of no value to me as Executor as the banks & real estate escrow company all required a complete copy of the Trust. (It was nearly all boilerplate with no real personal info so I had no issue giving them a complete copy.)

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Aren’t trusts public anyway? That’s what our current attorney said and advised us to put more personal infos in the will rather than in the trust.

The will is a public document and has to be filed within a certain time frame. Anyone can obtain a copy for a small fee. The trust OTOH is not. At least that’s how it is in Illinois (where my family lived).


No. But wills become public record when probated (estate attorneys like to use Michael Jackson’s will as an example; the document was made public - alas, no details about his assets were provided because everything he owned was given to a trust which was not public).

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absolutely not in California. (most of Hollywood have Trusts to avoid public probate.)


Maybe we are using the term public in a different way? A will is definitely private until you die, right? Don’t we hear often how someone was totally surprised when a will is read? Our attorney made us move the term of distribution from the trusts to the wills to keep it private.

yes, a will is private until you die, at which point it could become a public document (in probate).

A Trust is always private.


When we were considering a Trust, one of the advantages noted was the privacy our outcome (unlike Wills, where probate details become publicly available). That was not an issue to us, but evidently it can be in wealthy families.

Creation of a Trust can cost thousands of dollars. For us, it would be. a free perk with our fee advisor firm. Nonetheless we opted, at least for now, to just have a Will. Most of our assets have spouse as co-owner or designated beneficiary (and alternate - kids 50/50). The exception is our house, but not even sure we’ll have a house when we are both gone. If so, it will need to go through probate (fairly simple in Colorado.

There are certainly family situations where a Trust would make a lot of sense. But it would be important to pick an appropriate and willing Trustee.

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In WA, a will is not required to be filed before death with the court, to my knowledge. But then I realized you were likely referring to after death, then it’s supposed to be within 30 days. Makes me realize that my mom never filed my grandparents wills. Then again, who would contest it anyways.

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@bluebayou It’s really annoying the number of entities that insist they must have the entire trust and all amendments when, in fact, the trust details are designed to remain private and the abstract should suffice. Most trusts that I have seen do come with an abstract, showing grantors, trustees, dates, signatures, etc. As mentioned above, one of the advantages of a trust is privacy.

I recently found unclaimed funds for my Dad from a decade ago, the county wants a death cert and the entire trust, etc. It’s not enough money to bother, but also.

I have also had to complete a certificate of trust for banks and insurance companies, where you are, essentially outlining those details.

Understand, but their financial (house), their rules. And yes, our State also required the complete Trust to claim escheat items. But the state does say that the Trust will be kept private. (yeah, right)

I have no trouble believing a celebrity’s trust might be leaked by an employee of any location

My DH feels strongly about this issue due to having worked with many retiree trusts and just hates the demands on principal. He has refused to provide a trust many times and had the requestor back down. (Not the government, these were all private.) I don’t know if it’s just the principal or also that one old trust he worked with was, literally, hundreds of pages and would have been a real drag to remove all staples from the main body plus all the amendments, copy it all, and put it back together.

I have another basic question : I am inclined to tip the guys doing the cleanout (company guys, not day laborers) but DH says nope, they are employees earning a fine pay (based on the invoice). But I gave the housepainters and landscape crew all a small something, is this different?

No I don’t think it’s different. But I also understand where your husband is coming from. That at some point, where does tipping begin and end.

There’s my non answer answer :grin:

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A Mr. Pink devotee… :upside_down_face:

I would say it depends on how easily you can afford the tip. Having said that, my kind hearted low income mother was a generous tipper.

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