My Cousin Barb commented on my book with some good estate plan information of her own:

Your book got me thinking.  Yes, I have a trust, living will, etc, but my successor trustee doesn’t have my logins, etc., or a list of my out of state friends, so I am going to make a list of all of that post haste.

The attorney who drew up my parents trusts failed to ask about my Dads life insurance beneficiary. For some reason, my Dad designated his “estate” as his beneficiary.  So unfortunately, we had to go through the hassle and expense of probate.  Let me emphasize expense.  It cost his estate $6,000 and many weeks to have two small insurance policies probated.  The time and cost were exacerbated because there are five of us, and we are pretty spread out.  So I recommend making sure that Everything that can be is put in the trust.  Or in the case of IRAs and life insurance, that the named beneficiaries are living people.

The second thing was with Social Security.  I called them immediately to notify them of Dads death. Fine.  Two weeks later, his SS check is deposited in his account.  Please tell your readers to Do Nothing if this happens.  They will eventually take it back out.  Being the rules-follower I am, I called the local SS office, and was told to send them a check.  BIG mistake.  After they finally debited Dads account, it took me months to get the money back that he was owed.  I had to send them an original birth certificate (for me), and my original marriage certificate because my name was different from my father’s.  They insisted on both of these being originals.  Are you laughing hysterically yet?  Guess what?  They lost these documents!  Finally, they were found on someone’s desk and returned to me – and yes, I had Dad’s name and the case number etc etc. written all over everything that I sent.  I finally got them back after almost a year.  You can just about guess what I went through.

Thank you for caring enough to alert people to end of life potholes.  I’m sure there are some neither of us has even dreamed about!

Love you and miss your Mom and Dad,

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