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Wednesday April 20, 2016

posted by Thomas J. Banaszynski
Tags: In the news 

The following are some guidelines and suggestions for managing a probate estate. These would apply whether an individual is a fiduciary, e.g. Executor or Executrix, Administrator or Administratrix; is a beneficiary of the estate. These are some basic guidelines to keep in mind should you find yourself involved in a probate estate for a friend or relative.

1. Determine if there is or is not a Will; who will be the fiduciary (Executor/Executrix; Administrator/Administratrix).

2. Identify who will be the heirs or beneficiaries of the estate.

3. Determine the likely assets of the estate.

4. Determine if the $15,000.00 spousal exemption is applicable—allowing a surviving spouse to claim the first $15,000.00 of a partner’s personal property.

5. Complete a petition to open a probate estate and file it in Probate Court, noting whether surety will or will not be required on the bond.

6. Once the fiduciary is appointed, open a separate estate checking account. Do not commingle funds.

7. Upon appointment, the fiduciary should marshal all known assets, and take steps to secure them.

8. File an Inventory within sixty (60) days of the appointment of the fiduciary and issuance of the Certificate of Qualification.

9. At the time the Inventory is filed, file the “Affidavit of Exemption,” if applicable, to show that inheritance taxes will not be payable to the estate.

10. Determine whether the estate will require an IRS estate identification number (“EIN”). If so, obtain one.

11. Upon receipt, immediately negotiate and resolve any claims against the estate, which may be filed.

12. Transfer of property, e.g. real estate or vehicle, may be undertaken any time after an individual is appointed and as the fiduciary, a Certificate of Qualification is issued.

13. Within twelve (12) months from the appointment of the fiduciary and issuance of the Certificate of Qualification, either file a Periodic Settlement or a Final Settlement. An estate may not be closed sooner than six (6) months following an appointment.