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In the News

FOR EVERY PROBLEM… There are people out there who will help you solve it

The Wall Street Journal

Estate Organizers: These professional can help implement an estate plan for someone who is still alive or help settle the estate of someone who has recently died. They don’t provide legal advice. The simply take care of the details.


“I am sort of a gatekeeper,” says Jeanne K. Smith of Exit Stage Right®, Palo Alto, California, explaining that, in addition to conducting an inventory of asserts, she also does a basic review of estate documents. “I’m looking for what could fall through the cracks.”


The end product is a single workbook or computer file containing all the legal, financial and personal information that a family would need in a time of crisis. Clients range from young parents in their 20’s to older people moving to retirement communities and sometimes include relatives of the recently deceased.


In one recent estate case, she found herself helping to unravel the finances of a deceased man who hadn’t filed taxes since 1993. The brother-in-law called her in when he discovered piles of unopened mail. Since then, she has not only gotten copies of old tax documents, but has also helped replace or verify $37,000 of stale checks that had never been cashed.*


Estate organizers are a growing niche in the professional organizing industry. Ms. Smith says she has trained 36 people and expects more to follow…


See also “A Tough Job Deserves Compensation,” Kiplinger Retirement Report, October 2000 .puzzle piece