When a loved one passes away, it can be an emotional time. In addition to grieving their passing, those that survive them must tie up all the legal and financial loose ends related to their life and estate. This includes addressing their will and following its instructions.
The first step of estate administration requires the named executor to apply for probate. Probate grants the executor the legal right to be able to administer the estate. The executor must then have the estate valued in order to determine if any tax is owed upon its proceeds. If any taxes are due, the amount owed must then be paid by the executor of the estate before any other monies are distributed to the departed person’s benefactors. The benefactors may eventually have to file inheritance tax returns as well.
In United States law and terminology, “probate” refers to proving that a will is valid. In many U.S. states, a person would petition the court for probate, and then add the will that is to be considered to their petition. Once probate is approved by the court, the petitioner officially becomes the executor and then has full legal rights to be able to deal with the deceased individual’s estate.
An “inheritance” refers to what a benefactor receives from the estate of a relative who has passed on and included them in their will. Inheritance tax is the tax that is paid to the government on the money that has been inherited. In the United States, not everyone must pay inheritance tax; an estate must be worth a certain amount before a tax payment is required. In addition to federal inheritance taxes, state taxes are required in some states. Inheritance tax returns must be filed as well.
Dealing with legal, accounting and tax-related matters is often the last thing you want to do during this emotional time, but you don’t have to go it alone. Whether you need advice about probate, estate administration or inheritance tax returns, estate administration attorney John B. Whalen, Jr., can help. He is committed to making the entire process as efficient and stress-free as possible.