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06 / 30 / 2016 by Greg Freyman, CPA in Personal Tax

Estate Administration: An Illustrative Tale

Estate administration - Thomas Smith

Jack and Diane Smith are in their mid-50’s. Jack’s father, Thomas, recently passed away. Jack is named as the executor of his father’s estate. Jack isn’t sure exactly what he’ll need to do to handle his father’s estate, so he hires Greg of Freyman CPA and a local law firm to assist him in all of the legal and financial matters related to the estate.

Greg and the lawyers review the legal documentation related to Thomas’ estate. They review his will, and the trusts that he set up for his grandchildren. Greg had acted as Thomas’ accountant, and worked with him years ago to establish a trust that could help avoid probate. The lawyers and accountants review documents related to Thomas’ assets and liabilities, including the title and deed to his home, and his investment statements.

Greg discovers that Thomas purchased a piece of artwork by a famous artist before he passed away. Together with the lawyers, Greg determines that the asset requires valuation and arranges for this as part of the estate administration.

Thomas lived in New Jersey, but Jack and his wife live in Arizona. Greg advises Jack on proper ways to safeguard the assets of his father’s estate, given that he does not live nearby. By doing so, Greg helps to ensure that there are proper controls in place to protect all of the assets of Thomas’ estate before they are distributed to the beneficiaries.

In order to properly manage the estate and file an estate return, Greg contacts Thomas’ brokers, bankers, trustees, and life insurance provider to inform them of Thomas’ passing. Jack is relieved that he doesn’t have to handle these administrative matters during this period of mourning. Greg works with the attorneys to ensure that Thomas’ outstanding debts are paid.

A final year tax return must be prepared for Thomas. Freyman CPA prepares the federal and state returns for the year in which Thomas passed away. In addition, they prepare the initial year federal and state estate tax returns for Thomas’ estate.

Although Thomas had retired years earlier, he still ran a small consulting business with a colleague in his spare time. Greg reviews that partnership agreement and determines that the partnership did not terminate upon Thomas’ passing. After discussion with the remaining partner, Greg assists with the termination of the partnership and files the appropriate administrative paperwork and tax returns.

Thomas’ named Freyman CPA as the successor trustee to his family trust, and Jack appreciated that they were familiar with the objectives of the trust, as they had worked with Thomas to structure it.

Once Thomas’ estate had been fully settled, Jack realized how relieved he was that he hired Freyman CPA to help administer his father’s estate. He was thankful that he could spend the time reflecting on his father’s life rather than scrambling to address all of the financial matters.

Estate administration - in memory

After losing a loved one, the legal and tax consequences are unlikely to be at the forefront of your mind. Unfortunately, the IRS and states require certain matters to be handled in a timely manner, even though you may still be mourning the loss. Hiring a firm like Freyman CPA can unburden your family of the arduous set of tasks required as part of an estate administration.

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