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Lehigh County Estate Administration Blog

5 universal estate administration duties in the United States

There are times when an estate plan needs to be filed with the probate court, which requires an individual to accept the responsibility of putting this into effect. If there is someone in the estate plan who is named to handle this, they are known as the executor. If the person is appointed to the position, they are known as the administrator. The broad term for either case is the personal representative.

The duties that come with this position are great. While the specific circumstances of the estate will dictate exactly what needs to happen, there are some tasks that must occur in every case. Going through this list might help you to better understand what goes into the administration of an estate.

  • Pay for the funeral and burial. This is done using the estate's funds. Working with the funeral home also makes it possible to get copies of the death certificate. The person handling the administration duties will need this to help with some of the tasks.
  • Find the assets that are part of the estate. This is necessary so that they can be distributed according to the estate plan's instructions. Finding these assets might be a bit easier if the person had a letter of instruction that makes it clear where they are. This might also include the usernames and passwords for digital accounts.
  • Locate heirs and beneficiaries. While it is possible that you already know how to contact each person, you can touch base to let them know what you are doing and find out if they have any questions.
  • Collect information about debts. The estate is responsible for paying the deceased person's debts, but this must be handled in a specific manner. It is possible that you might have to liquidate assets to cover the debts. If there are more debts than the total value of the estate, the heirs aren't liable to finish paying off the debts, but they won't receive any inheritance. If there are assets left after the debts are paid, they are distributed in accordance with the estate plan.
  • File the last tax return for the estate. This must be done in a timely manner, but you need to have the death certificate in hand before you get this task taken care of.

3 things to do if there is no will after a person's death

Dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult in itself, but it can be complicated when they don't leave a will behind. Wills are essential to protecting what your parent has accumulated over the year in terms of assets and to give guidance on what your loved one wants to see happen following their death.

If you don't think that your mom or dad had a will before they passed away, it's important to take a few steps to protect the estate. Here's more on what to do next.

Think carefully before you contest a loved one's will

Many people count on their loved one to have an estate plan in place when the loved one passes away. There are some instances in which there is an estate plan in place, but there are problems with it. Some people might realize that there is a reason to challenge the will. This is a very involved process, so it must be considered carefully before anything is done. Unfortunately, you don't have much time to think about this since contesting a will is a time-sensitive matter.

Ensure that you understand some basic points about contesting a will so that you can make an informed decision. There are many more aspects of these cases than just the legal ones.

How to ensure your pets are cared for after you die

A comprehensive estate plan is critical for everyone, but some people may not realize that they need one. People with pets need to ensure that their pets are cared for. Loved ones left behind may not care for the animals in the way you would have liked. In some cases, animals are euthanized due to a lack of planning.

Your estate plan can outline a plan for your beloved pets. You need to think carefully about how you handle this matter because there are a few interesting points to think about.

Avoiding probate court is a goal of many estate plans

One of the primary goals of estate planning is bypassing the probate process. This is a big consideration since probate can take time and money. For most people who are working out an estate plan, it's important to get their loved ones as much as possible and as quickly as they can.

There are many facets of the probate process that are mystifying to people who have never gone through it It is a good idea for all adults to have an understanding of at least the basics so that they know what to expect if they ever face this type of situation.

Tax Exempt Entity Filing

Tax Exempt organizations are reminded of the requirement to file their annual information returns by May 15, 2018, or risk having their federal tax-exempt status revoked. Many small organizations can file Form 990-n (the e-postcard) to meet their annual filing requirement.

IRS has cautioned tax-exempts not to include Social Security numbers or other unneeded personal information on their Form 990 and to file electronically when possible.

3 estate planning mistakes you should avoid making

Estate planning is a serious matter that some people try to put off as long as they can. This can be a huge mistake because you never know when you will reach your final day. Taking the time to plan now can help you to feel more at ease, as well as helping your loved ones to feel less stressed.

When you are creating your estate plan, you need to make sure that you aren't making mistakes that could be costly down the road. An estate plan that isn't handled properly could be considered invalid. It might be challenged by someone when you pass away. This could lead to more expenses for your loved ones, as well as taking up their time. Here are some mistakes you should avoid:

Understand the roles of an estate executor

A person who is named an estate executor has a considerable amount of work to do. This job isn't always easy, but it is usually considered a great honor. Understanding the role of the executor can help people creating an estate plan to name one and it can help people who are given this responsibility an idea of what is to come.

Here are some points to know about the duties of an estate executor:

Federal Estate Tax Portability Election

Time is running out for the extension to make portability election by surviving spouses of individuals who died after 2010. So far the IRS has been extremely lenient in allowing taxpayers relief for failing to timely make the required election to save any unused exclusion. For couples with assets of $11 million dollars the election could save their heirs over $2 million dollars.

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