Stephen B. Jordan, EA

Stephen B. Jordan, EA

Pie Graph Image

Basic Checklist of Personal Representative's Duties

Basic Checklist of Personal Representative's Duties
Probate Office
1. Probate "Will" (or notify of intestate death) within required period and publish death notice.
2. File inventory within required period of taking letters.
3. File accounting(s) within required period(s) (or annually if estate is open for more than one year).
4. Consider obtaining and filing releases from beneficiaries.
5. Other: as required by state law.

1. Open estate checking and/or savings account(s); deposit all funds received and pay all bills using these account(s). Be able to identify all deposits in detail. Close decedent's solely owned bank accounts and CD's into estate account(s); may wish to keep open decedent's accounts with good interest rates until maturity if bank won't convert them to estate.

2. Apply for federal employer identification number (US Form SS-4); may obtain by telephone or on-line.

3. File US Form 56 -- Notice of Fiduciary Relationship to notify the IRS of appointment as personal representative if federal return(s) are to be filed.

4. Keep evidence of all debts of decedent, costs of administering estate and funeral expenses; save invoices and cancelled checks returned by bank.

5. Notify Social Security Administration and Veterans' Administration of death; apply for lump sum death benefits.

6. Make list of safe deposit box contents.

7. Make claim for life insurance benefits -- obtain Form 712 from insurance company for each policy.

8. Make claim for pension and profit-sharing benefits; consider income tax implications of mode of payment.

9. Obtain from banks written statements as to date-of-death values of all bank accounts, including principal balance and interest accrued to date of death. For certificates of deposit, request principal balance, interest rate and frequency of interest payment (monthly, quarterly, at maturity, etc)

10. Value stocks at average of high and low prices on date of death (or get broker's statement if values are not published).

11. Obtain broker's statement as to date of death value on commercial and tax-exempt bonds (if values are not published).

12. List US Savings Bonds by type (E/EE/H/HH), face amount, issue date, and value as of date of death.

13. Obtain appraisals of real property and of personal property at fair market values as of date of death (consider income tax basis issues).

14. Obtain decedent's prior year federal and state individual income tax returns and one year of cancelled checks.

15. Obtain prior five years of financial statements or income tax returns on any business interests owned by decedent plus any buy/sell agreements.

16. File final federal and state individual tax returns for decedent for year of death - due April 15 of the year after death occurs. Consider requesting prompt assessment of decedent's US income taxes (US Form 4810). Consider medical expense election. Make sure final full year of income tax returns have been filed.

17. Obtain copies of all US and state gift tax returns filed by decedent.

18. Be sure all properties are properly safeguarded and adequately insured. Verify that all bank holdings are within FDIC limits and that deposits are insured.

19. Other: as required.

1. File state inheritence tax return within required period. Consider use of disclaimer(s), Q-TIP and special valuation elections as well as other planning techniques; ascertain if credit for tax on prior transfers applies.

Estate Income Tax Return(s)
1. File Fiduciary Income Tax Return(s) (US Form 1041) - mandatory if gross income exceeds $600, elective otherwise.

2. Elections to consider:
   ? choice of fiscal year
   ? methods of accounting
   ? use of administrative expenses as income tax deduction
   ? US savings bonds; elect income recognition v. cashing v. distribution to heirs
   ? distribution of taxable income planning
   ? capital gain/loss recognition planning
   ? other: as required

Federal Estate Return [if estate exceeds $1,500,000 (2004), $1,500,000 (2005), $2,000,000 (2006), $2,000,000 (2007), $2,000,000 (2008), $3,500,000 (2009)].  Under the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, the federal estate tax was eliminated in 2010. The gift tax, however, remained in effect at a 35 percent rate.  On Jan. 1, 2011, the estate tax returns. According to a 
new law enacted in December 2010, estates valued at $5 million or less are exempt from the tax. Estates worth more than $5 million are taxed at a 35 percent rate.
1. File US Estate Tax Reurn (US Form 706) - due within 9 months of death - extensions may be requested. Consider requesting early discharge from personal liablility for estate.

2. Elections to consider:
  ? alternate valuation date values
  ? payment of US estate tax with flower bonds - must be done within 9 months of death
  ? extension of time to pay US estate tax (IRC Sec. 6161 or 6166) - must be filed on or before due date of estate tax return, including extensions
  ? Special valuation of farm or business real estate under IRC Sec. 2032A - must be made with timely filed estate tax return
  ? qualify certain terminable interest property for marital deduction under Q-TIP rules
  ? ascertain if credit for tax on prior transfers is available
  ? corporate stock redemption under IRC Sec. 303

3. File (if necessary) state estate tax return.

4. Other: as required.