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CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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I need answers relevant to South Dakota. VERY large estate

Customer Question

I need answers relevant to South Dakota. VERY large estate - 1 Billion +. Very well done and organized Wills and trusts in place. The deceased has had her attorney and executor/administrator and the court working in Probate to be sure everything business wise and all other debts were paid, and that all business assets and etc. were organized in the proper way, and that taxes were calculated/paid. The heirs have been told what they will receive. I am due cash, stocks and bonds. Everything is supposedly moving along smoothly. IDEALLY, especially in South Dakota, would I be able to take a least a small percentage of my cash or other personal inheritance before everything else is all tied up and finished **completely,** or what are the options available to the executor and attorney in allowing distribution of personal assets to heirs if they have proven to the court that the "business" aspects of the probate have been organized and taken care of, or are well into the process? How do stocks and bonds get transferred by legal name from the deceased to me usually? I assume this is a transfer of names by SS numbers and names and that kind of way with signatures, by the executor, attorney and myself, as well as showing whoever is managing the bonds and stocks and even cash, "proof of death" and that I am the legal heir to $xxxx amount of each from the deceased's estate? And then the items would be held and the name changed, or I would be able to transfer them to the places I prefer them to be managed. Thank you very much for giving this your best answer/guess, knowing the state (South Dakota has different laws of course) and what has already been going on now for several months with the executor, estate administrator, the courts, etc. - Thanks, Dennis
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 2 years ago.
Dear Customer, thank you for using our forum.Unfortunately, there are a couple of different possibilities, and it really depends on how the assets were held at the time of death that would dictate how they would be transferred (and when).If the assets were held in a trust, the trustee can transfer these assets at any time (the successor trustee takes over the duties and obligations of trustee as soon as the original trustee dies and has an obligation to distribute assets (including stock certificates) as soon as the original trustee (decedent) passes away. The terms for doing this are going to be dictated by the trust itself (which is a private document and can vary widely from one estate plan to the next (some are very detailed in how distributions should be done, while others are very basic, simply instructing that assets shall be distributed in a specific manner with no additional instruction).If the assets are held in an estate (meaning there was a will, or there was no will and no trust (which doesn't appear to be the case), the assets will pass through probate, meaning that while the court may make intermediate distributions, every time that the executor wishes to make a distribution of assets they must do so after a noticed hearing through the courts - a cumbersome process requiring notice to beneficiaries and taking a significant amount of time and resources.In most cases such as the one you describe there will be a combination of a trust and a "spill over will" where the estate is divided into a trust and a will, with assets being distributed in both manners at the same time.To mechanically distribute stock, the trustee or executor will work with the stockbroker or investment banker (whoever is managing the estate's shares) to transfer the ownership of the stock to the beneficiaries. They will generally contact the beneficiaries ahead of time and give them the option of working with their own investment people or giving information on how they want to hold the stock (for example if they wish to hold it as "joint tenants" with their spouse) and will often provide them with paperwork to help them with tax withholding.