Estate Planning

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How to Locate a Decedent’s Assets through Tax Returns

For an estate executor in the process of locating a decedent’s assets, the decedent’s prior tax returns may be a useful resource. These tax returns (and the supporting documentation) provide information [more…]

How to Locate a Decedent's Assets in Safes and Computer Files

When marshalling a decedent’s assets, check any safe-deposit boxes in the decedent’s name and go through his or her computer files. There may be valuable assets or important documentation in the decedent’s [more…]

How to Locate a Decedent's Hidden Assets

Going through a decedent’s personal papers and hiding places may seem invasive, but it is necessary for an estate’s executor to conduct a search for all of the decedent’s assets, including hidden assets [more…]

How to Research a Potential Estate Attorney’s Credentials

When choosing an attorney to assist with your estate or trust, you should research credentials and conduct interviews. Check the Web site of the firm at which the estate lawyer is employed. Also check [more…]

How to Calculate Interest and Dividends for a Decedent, Estate, or Trust

When filing Form 1040 or Form 1041, your first task is to determine how much income the taxpayer (whether trust, estate or decedent) earned. Two of the main types of income you’ll have to deal with are [more…]

Where and How to File Estate Form 706

The administrator of an estate needs to know the basic rules for how and where to file Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return [more…]

How to Determine If an Estate Must File Form 706

Determining whether or not you need to file Form 706 for an estate depends on the size of the gross estate, or the total value of everything the decedent owned as of date of death, and the year in which [more…]

How to Determine Final Income Distributions for Trust Beneficiaries

When terminating a trust, you must be certain that all required income distributions have, in fact, been made to the income beneficiary before you can distribute the remaining trust principal to the person [more…]

How to Pay a Trust's Expenses

In addition to making payments to the beneficiaries, as trustee, you’re also responsible for paying the expenses you incur in administering the trust. The primary expenses include trustee’s fees, investment [more…]

How to List a Decedent's Large Assets

When marshalling — locating and listing — a decedent’s assets, an estate administrator might begin with the largest assets: real estate and vehicles. Large assets will often be easy to find, but it is [more…]

Seek Advice for Complex Schedules on Estate Form 706

Some of the schedules on the United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return (Form 706) involve complex areas of tax law. Schedules G, H, I, P, Q, R, and U are full of technicalities [more…]

How to Complete Schedule O for Estate Form 706

Use Schedule O to claim a charitable deduction when filing federal estate tax returns (Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return [more…]

Estate Tax Installments and Postponements: Part 3 of Form 706

An estate’s administrator can use Part 3 of Form 706 to make elections concerning the payment of federal estate taxes. When electing to pay the tax in installments, you need to verify that the estate qualifies [more…]

How to Obtain a Liability Release for Estate Form 706

Whether you file the decedent’s Form 706 as executor or trustee, you always want to obtain a release from personal liability under code section 2204. This ensures that you will not be liable for any additional [more…]

When Must You File Estate Form 706?

The executor, administrator, or personal representative of the decedent’s estate is responsible for filing Form 706 if the gross estate is larger than the applicable exclusion amount for the year in question [more…]

How to List and Value a Decedent’s Small Businesses

If a decedent owned a small business, in full or in part, the estate’s executor needs to value that small business and decide whether to continue the business or sell it. Use the decedent’s tax return [more…]

Write a New Property Sale Agreement for an Estate

If you are administering an estate in which the decedent was in the middle of a property transfer at the time of death, cancel the old purchase and sale agreement. Then write a new agreement in which the [more…]

What Is the Federal Estate Tax?

The federal estate tax applies to large estates. The year of the decedent’s death determines the qualifying value of the estate. If you are administering an estates that qualifies, you must complete Form [more…]

How to Complete Schedule K and L for Estate Form 706

When filing Form 706, United States Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return, use Schedule Kto deduct debts that the decedent owed at death and obligations, such as mortgages or liens, which [more…]

Alternate and Special Valuation: Part 3 of Estate Form 706

In Part 3 of Form 706, the estate administrator can choose to make any of four tax elections depending on if these elections apply to the decedent and benefit the estate. The first two elections, [more…]

Calculate Decedent, Estate, or Trust Business Income and Capital Gains and Losses

In order to file Form 1040 or Form 1041, you will need to determine how much business income, if any, the taxpayer (whether trust, estate or decedent) earned, and calculate capital gains and losses. The [more…]

What Fees Do Estate and Trust Attorneys Charge?

Estates and trust attorneys typically charge clients in one of three ways: hourly fee, flat fee, or contingency fee. In addition to the attorney’s regular fees, you should expect to be billed for miscellaneous [more…]

How to Find an Appraiser for Your Estate or Trust

As an executor or trustee, you may need an appraiser to estimate the value of the assets of the decedent’s estate. You will need to provide asset valuations on Form 706, and you will need to have official [more…]

How to Find Resources for Administering an Estate or Trust on Your Own

If you decide to administer an estate or trust on your own, there are important resources you should consult concerning tax issues, tax forms, probate courts, and more. Be sure to consult the necessary [more…]

What Are Charitable Trusts?

In charitable trusts, a grantor (the person who creates a trust) can reduce his or her taxable estate by transferring assets out of the estate with the goal of using them for charity. Split-interest charitable [more…]

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