What do you mean dying isn’t free?

What do you mean dying isn’t free?

I know this sounds a bit irreverent or flippant however it is meant to stimulate some hard thinking about the real costs of dying.  Sure, there are lots of lists around, but I haven’t found one yet that covers everything I have seen in years in this industry.  Is this list perfect?  Absolutely not, but it will get you thinking about your own and your family’s situation.  Remember, not all of these will apply to you – but some will – and the costs range widely:

Probate FeesLegal FeesCopying and certifying fees
Paid searches for titles, etc.Legal notification to potential heirsLegal notification to creditors
Asset Transfer feesEstate Accounting feesTerminal Tax Return Fees
Estate Tax Return feesRights & Things Tax Return feesOngoing tax Return fees if estate not settled within 12 months
Testamentary Trust Tax Return feesPreparing and filing tax election fees (estate and personal)Executor and Trustee fees (annually until Estate and all Trusts closed)
Executor and Trustee disbursements – Required Bonding costs, copying, telephone, faxing, certifications, mileage, parking, travel expensesValuation fees – real estate, listed personal property, personal property, real estate and other capital and/or depreciable propertyTransfer costs for title transfer to Executor and/or Trustee and eventually to residual beneficiaries.
Commissions paid for asset sales:  real estate, estate sale, sale of listed personal assets as necessaryCommissions paid to investment advisors for selling stocks and bonds not held in managed-money accountsIncome taxes payable – terminal tax return, estate tax return(s), Rights and Things tax return, Trust tax return(s)
Tax due on transfers of pensions and registered assets to other than spouseShrinkage of realizable asset value due to the urgency of sale – tax paid on FMV, not $ received – must replace lost $Account closing fees on nominee and self-directed investment accounts
Court Fees for ProbateCourt costs if you die intestateProperty Transfer Taxes
Rental fees – safety deposit box or other secure location and Bank fees – estate and trust bank accountsFuneral, memorial and related costs – cultural, faith-based, community or family expectations.  Wake or similarCosts to collect promissory notes owed to deceased – loans to family members and businesses
Terminal health care costs not covered by Government, group or personal plansLegal and Court costs to defend will is challenged or contestedPayment of all legally enforceable depts. – including ones you guaranteed or co-signed
On-going pet careCosts of care for children and other dependents (maybe your parents!)Costs to close your social media accounts and profiles
Payment for ongoing business management until it is soldShort-term emergency funds and ongoing income for survivorsGeneral insurance costs for vehicles, property, valuables, etc.
Cash BequestsContract cancellation fees – vehicle lease, cell phones, internet, television, etc.Murphy is alive and well – expect a visit along with family discord!


I can promise a few things about this list:

a) your estate will have at least one cost not included here;

 b) you will be very unpleasantly surprised at the total amount of money (and time) involved;

 c) your estate will be cash-poor – not enough cash in the bank to pay these costs when means that;

 d) the net value of your estate, without proper planning and a source of replacement tax-free cash, could even be bankrupt which means your family and heirs would get zero.

  Would you benefit from assistance in planning your estate? Please contact me: