Daily money managers are an integral part of a client’s financial team. Helping to settle estates is one example of how these professionals collaborate with clients’ attorneys, accountants, and financial planners to attend to the many details of the probate process.
The DMM as Executor or Executor Support
When an individual has no named executor or the named executor cannot function, some daily money managers will serve in this role. Other times, daily money managers support the executor.
In my daily money management practice, my client Judy* was her husband’s named executor. Judy devoted all her energy to worrying about her husband and overseeing his care to the point where she collapsed from exhaustion and was hospitalized a few days before his death. She could not tend to her husband’s estate, and, at her request, the Probate Court appointed me.
Another executor, Linda, no longer had the cognitive ability to settle her husband’s estate due to her own memory decline. Linda was fiercely independent and was determined to remain her husband’s executor and successor trustee. Her attorney and I collaborated to support Linda in these roles. In this case, I served as executor in all but name.
The On-The-Ground Estate Team Member
When daily money managers work as part of a client’s estate settlement team, they are in regular communication with the client’s other advisors about the information they need and what needs to be done. A daily money manager is frequently the on-the-ground person seeing to the details. They can:
- Locate and prepare inventories of assets.
- Find date-of-death values.
- Locate bank and investment account statements.
- Arrange for appraisals of property and valuable items.
- Help the executor open an estate bank account.
- Prepare checks to pay debts and creditors.
- Keep accurate records of all transactions.
- Notify government offices, credit reporting agencies, and interested parties about the death.
- Help the executor terminate contracts and leases.
- Contact investment advisors and financial companies to learn what documentation is required to distribute or retitle the deceased’s assets.
- Complete necessary forms and other paperwork, preparing them for the executor’s signature.
- Accompany the executor to the bank for medallion signature guarantees. (A medallion signature guarantee confirms your identity, signature, and legal authority to transfer securities.)
- Provide information to the accountant for the estate tax return.
- Oversee other tasks and details.
After the Estate Is Settled
After estates are settled, daily money managers can assist surviving spouses in meeting with their attorneys to update their own estate planning documents. Daily money managers can then team with the spouse’s investment advisor to help the client retitle assets and update beneficiaries.
Regardless of whether daily money managers are appointed as the executor, or their role is to support the named executor, they attend to many details in the estate settlement process, allowing other members of the client’s financial teams to focus on their areas of expertise.
*The names of the individuals in this article have been changed to protect their privacy.
Robyn Young is Certified Daily Money Manager (CDMM®)and owner of Money Care, LLC in the Williston, Vermont, specializing in busy professionals and high-net-worth families and individuals. Connect with Robyn on Linked In.