A Boutique Trusts & Estates Law Firm

It’s always the little things in an Estate….

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

In our last post, we discussed the process of “probate” and what the Personal Representative or Executor must do to begin the process. This week, we will look at some of the loose ends that need to be tied up after Personal Representative is appointed through the probate process.

First, ensure that the Social Security Administration has been notified of the death. The funeral home usually takes care reporting the death, but the Personal Representative should double-check to avoid having to return funds to the Social Security Administration.

Second, all automatic payments and debits from a decedent’s account need to be reviewed and, in most cases, stopped. If you have access to the decedent’s recent bank statement or credit card statement, it is easy to spot these payments and debits. These payments may include an EZPass account, utility payments, car payments, rent payments, credit card payments, student loan payments and mortgage payments. Remember, for banks to speak with a Personal Representative and allow him or her to make changes to an account, the Personal Representative must provide them with a death certificate and Letters of Administration (or Letters Testamentary).

Third, if the decedent was the only person at his or her residence, have the cable and telephone service cancelled. Keep all e-mail accounts open, if possible, to receive any notices or statements the decedent agreed to receive electronically. The electric, gas, and water bills should be retitled in the name of the Estate until the property is sold or transferred to a beneficiary. You may have to provide a death certificate and Letters of Administration to these companies as well.

If the decedent was not the only person at the residence, the other resident(s) must take over payment of the household bills, including utilities. The decedent’s name should be removed from all accounts.

You might be wondering how to address a mortgage or rent payment. The method depends on whether the mortgage or lease was in the decedent’s name alone, or there is someone else who is also responsible for those payment obligations. If there was a co-mortgagor or co-lessee, that person becomes solely responsible for all payments after the decedent’s death. If the decedent was the only person responsible, the Estate steps into the shoes of the decedent and becomes responsible for payment.

Lastly, remember that the Personal Representative should not pay any debts of the decedent until the six (6) month statutory creditor period has passed. If the Estate ends up being insolvent (not enough assets to cover the debts of the decedent and the expenses of the Estate) a statute tells the Personal Representative in what order to pay the debts. If the Personal Representative does not follow the correct priority of payments, he or she could be personally liable to the unpaid creditors of higher priority over the paid creditors of lower priority.


Our next post will address debts of the decedent, the creditor period and priority of payment.


For Immediate Release

Contact: Jane Frankel Sims


Contact: Frank Campbell


Sims & Campbell Estates and Trusts

Frankel Sims Law and Holden & Campbell
Merge to Form Sims & Campbell

Firm will offer comprehensive Trusts & Estates services through offices in Towson and Annapolis

TOWSON, Md. (April 26,2019)  Frankel Sims Law and Holden & Campbell have jointly announced the merger of their firms to create a boutique Trusts & Estates law firm providing comprehensive services in the fields of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Trust Administration and Charitable Giving. The combined firm will be named Sims & Campbell and have offices in Towson, Md. and Annapolis, Md.  Jane Frankel Sims and Frank Campbell will lead and hold equal ownership stakes in the firm.

Sims & Campbell will have 9 attorneys and 15 legal professionals that handle every facet of estate and wealth transfer planning, including wills, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, estate and gift tax advice, and charitable giving strategies.  The firm will focus solely on Trusts & Estates but will serve a wide range of clients, from young families with modest resources to ultra-high net worth individuals.  This allows clients to remain with the firm as their level of wealth and the complexity of related estate and tax implications change over time. 

“By joining forces, we have expanded our footprint to conveniently serve clients in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia” said Jane Frankel Sims.  We are seeing some of the greatest wealth transfer in our country’s history, and we want to continue to be on the leading edge of helping our clients maintain and enhance their family’s wealth.  In addition, we aim to serve our clients for years to come, and the new firm structure will allow Sims & Campbell to thrive even after Frank and I have retired.”    

“Jane and I have always admired each other’s firms and recognized the need to provide even greater depth and breadth of focused expertise to help families amass and protect their wealth from generation to generation,” said Frank Campbell.  “Now we have even greater capabilities to make a real difference for our clients.” 

The Sims & Campbell Towson office is located at 500 York Road, on the corner of York Road and Pennsylvania Avenue in the heart of Towson.  The Annapolis office is currently located at 716 Melvin Avenue, and is moving to 181 Truman Parkway in August, 2019.  For more information, visit www.simscampbell.law.