The Executor

My office door was always open and several LOLs (little old ladies) would sit in my office talking with me while I worked. Phyllis had no family except for two basset hounds. She used her church friends to the point where they were tired of helping her. One evening she took sick and was rushed to the hospital where a few friends gathered. In the middle of the night, she dictated and signed a half-page will and her friends said she should put me as the executor. I was notified of this the next day.

I accepted this even though I was no longer at that church; I felt it would be the right thing to help get through a temporary crisis and after a month get a better will naming someone else as the executor. I helped her move out into a retirement community, put the dogs in a kennel for the time being, get medical equipment, etc. After just a few days in her new location, she was again rushed to the hospital and died the next day. My plans were completely upended. I was now The Executor.

I first had to relocate the dogs to a rescue shelter. Then I had to contact various government agencies for death certificate, Social Security payments and death benefit, etc. I had to go to court to be recognized as the official executor (by coincidence a friend was the judge!). And then I had to find an estate liquidator and have an estate and house sale. It took months to do all this.

In the end, Phyllis’ estate netted after expenses about $80,000. Her will stated she wanted to create a named fund at the local Community Foundation with her church’s music ministry as the sole beneficiary of the annual distribution. Her church received about $4,000 the first year and will get more each year as the fund increases in value.

In hindsight I can thank Phyllis for that experience but at the time it was a humongous pain. In the end, she gave a forever gift to her church to the music ministry she loved so much in life.

Lead On!

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