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
- And liquidation of the person's tangible assets (their
"stuff"), which may or may not include their financial
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
Original trust and amendments
Original will and codicils
Bank accounts and investment portfolios
Real property holdings
Safe deposit boxes
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
- Establish a filing system to maintain records for probate and estate
- 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
- 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
- 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
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, California