Probate and estate administration are complex topics people may overlook until they encounter a sudden death in the family. When it happens, surviving family members can be too busy grieving the loss to sort out legal matters concerning the deceased’s estate.
When faced with probate and estate administration duties, it is best to take it step by step. The process can vary based on the situation, but the executor or administrator has standard tasks involving the estate, such as completing tax-related requirements.
These responsibilities often begin with asset appraisals and an inventory of the deceased’s outstanding debts. Then, the appointed executor or administrator can proceed to accomplish the following:
- The deceased’s tax returns – This requirement includes their year of death and any unfiled years prior.
- The estate’s tax returns – This filing needs a separate tax identification number specifically for the estate. Additionally, there are variations based on the estate’s yearly income and whether it continues to earn after the death.
- Estate tax returns – These returns are for the transfers made from the deceased to their family members and beneficiaries. It might only apply depending on the estate’s size and details.
These tax requirements are standard parts of the estate administration process, but they can be challenging to do alone. Fortunately, the IRS has various resources for executors and administrators if they need information or further guidance.
Administering the estate appropriately
There are essential components in estate administration, but they could change depending on the circumstances. Because of these variations, the process can be challenging to navigate. Sometimes, it is best to seek legal counsel early on to help determine what tasks to do and how to do them appropriately.