Charting a Course for Family Security

Probate Trust


  1. Notify a funeral director.  Either you or a relative make an appointment to discuss funeral arrangements, and to obtain at least 10 copies of the decedent's death certificate.  
  2. Gather following financial records and make  list of all assets held in the name of decedent's trust, the decedent's individual name and jointly with another person with value as of date of death:
    • Wills and Trust Agreements 
    • checkbooks 
    • savings passbook 
    • statements of account 
    • records of investments 
    • financial statements 
    • deed, title policies, appraisal, mortgage documents 
    • contracts 
    • insurance policies 
    • unpaid bills 
    • income and gift tax returns 
    • leases 
    • all papers of a business nature 
    • retirement plans (pensions, IRAs)
  3. Make inventory of all outstanding debts.
  4. Notify your attorney and make an appointment to review decedent's estate plan and discuss plan of action and division of responsibility.
  5. Review investments and determine need for financial planner assistance.
  6. Advise post office to forward mail if decedent lived alone.
  7. Notify Social Security office of death.  Claims may be expedited if you go to the nearest Social Security office in person to sign a claim for survivor's benefit.
  8. Notify decedent's Employee Benefits office.
  9. Notify the Veteran's Administration if decedent was ever in the service.  You may be eligible for death or disability benefits.
  10. After first reviewing disclaimer option with the attorney notify life and accident insurer and make claim for benefits (request 712 forms).  If you need emergency cash before insurance claims are paid, a cash advance may be made from any life insurance benefits to which you are entitled.
  11. If the decedent is eligible for Medicare, notify them.
  12. Check, on liability insurance covering real property, automobiles and other valuable assets such as jewelry and antiques.
  13. Have the attorney obtain appraisals to determine date of death value of all of all real property, business interests and tangibles.
  14. Order title reports for all real property.
  15. If total value of items in paragraph 2 above exceeds $5,250,000.00, an attorney, accountant or enrolled agent need to be retained to prepare the federal estate tax return (form 706).
  16. Retain accountant or enrolled agent to prepare decedent's final income tax return and fiduciary returns for the trust. Discuss portability of unused exclusion of decedent, if applicable, for surviving spouse.
  17. File form SS-4 to obtain taxpayer ID number for the decedent's Trust.
  18. Consider disclaimers.
  19. Open up checking account for trust and set up separate accounting system.
  20. Record decedent's Short Form Trust.

Downtown Office

Pacific Guardian Center
733 Bishop Street
Suite 2357
Honolulu, HI 96813

Kahala Office

1215 Hunakai St
Suite 209
Honolulu, HI 96816

Leeward Office

Newton Square
98-1247 Kaahumanu Street
Suite 221
Aiea, HI 96701

Windward Office

1247 Kailua Road
Suite D
Kailua, HI 96734