Exit Stage Right - Get Your Affairs in Order
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Assisting Executors & Trustees

Family members or close friends may suddenly find themselves carrying out the duties of a successor trustee or executor/executrix (also referred to as Estate Administrators) after the death of a loved one. Most people do not realize the extent of the responsibility they assumed when agreeing to serve in this capacity.


In addition to the grief they are experiencing, they are now required to handle the decedent's estate in a fiduciary capacity, and they have absolutely no experience dealing with these matters.


Trained professional organizers can assist the trustee or executor with the:

  • Discovery
  • Identification
  • Organization
  • Evaluation
  • And liquidation of the person's tangible assets (their "stuff"), which may or may not include their financial assets


However, clients maintain the legal role and fiduciary responsibilities of the estate administration.


Why use a professional organizer in this capacity?

A) The trustee/executor may not live close to the decedents residence.

B) The trustee/executor may not have the time and emotional energy to:

  • Go through the home(s) to gather the important documents and assets such as:

    Original trust and amendments 

    Original will and codicils

    Bank accounts and investment portfolios 

    Real property holdings 

    Safe deposit boxes 

    Security certificates 

    Partnership agreements 

    Timeshares, vehicle off-site storage, airplanes, etc.

  • Monitor and manage the decedent's incoming mail, and coordinate with the trustee/executor to maintain payment of bills and upkeep of the property
  • Establish a filing system to maintain records for probate and estate tax purposes
  • Work closely with legal counsel to provide information they need and to help the client meet all necessary deadlines
  • Inventory and organize the contents of the home, and prepare it for the family to review
  • Obtain valuations of the contents for inheritance and estate tax purposes
  • Assist with the distribution of the physical assets according to the decedent's legal documents
  • Inventory, valuation and facilitation of donated item to non- profit organizations
  • Work with real estate professionals and co-ordinate other services as needed to prepare the property for sale


These are examples of the types of services offered by Exit Stage Right©. This is not an all-inclusive list, as the needs of each client differ. Many times the services fall into the interesting category of "Other Duties As Assigned." [See Success Stories]


In business since 1992, Jeanne has assisted numerous estate administrators, and she has personally served in this capacity with the loss of several family members.


Working closely with the client's attorney, Jeanne has acted as the representative for non-resident estate administrators, being their hands and feet to settle the estates.


Note: The services of a professional organizer after a death loss are ESTATE tax deductible as an estate administration expense. These fees are paid from the estate assets prior to distribution to the estate beneficiaries, resulting in no out-of-pocket expenses for the estate administrator.



In the more than 7 years I have worked with Jeanne, she has been on the scene to enter, center stage, when the call goes out for help, often under urgent circumstances. Jeanne has always come through in the multitude of tasks I have asked her to undertake: from being a surrogate account manager and fiduciary, to jumping into the disorganized affairs of a stroke victim, to working patiently with a grieving and disabled senior to organize his own personal affairs, as well as the affairs of his deceased son. Jeanne shares her list of resources so that my clients know that they can count on the right professionals for any circumstances.

Peter S. Stern

Certified Specialist: Estate Planning, Probate, and Trust Law; Elder Law Attorney, Member of the State Bar Trusts and Estates Section Executive Committee, Member, Judicial Council of California, Probate and Mental Health Advisory Committee

Palo Alto, Californiapuzzle piece


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