Wills, Trusts & Estates
Law Office of Steven M Berger, LLC

Probate

Estate Administration

 

Estate Administration & Probate

Settling an estate after a loved one passes (also known as probate) involves setting debts, distributing property and ensuring the proper taxes are filed. Our firm can handle all these administrative and legal details during a difficult time.

Taxes

Tax preparation is key to settling the estate. The deceased’s tax year is considered ended upon the date of death. From the date of death forward, the estate is created and must file its own tax return. Our office can prepare any estate tax returns or work with a CPA on your behalf.

Any trusts must also file returns starting from the date of death. We work with an experienced accountant to complete trust tax returns.

In the unlikely event that the gross estate value exceeds the state or federal minimum, a separate estate tax form must be filed.

Assets

Many of the assets pass to beneficiaries outside of the probate process, such as bank accounts with designated beneficiaries and jointly-owned assets. We can advise you on options for titling and paying out retirement accounts. Life insurance claims must be submitted. Revocable trusts become irrevocable upon death and there is often a division of assets as part of the trusts administration.

The attorney will advise the personal representative (also known as the executer) on the options in how the retirement accounts should be titled and paid out. All accounts with beneficiary designations will require written notice to start the transfer. Life insurance claims must be submitted. Revocable trusts become irrevocable upon death and there is often a division of assets as part of the trusts administration.

Our firm can guide you through the process. We are there to assist you through a tough process at a difficult time

Understanding probate

 

Estate Administration Services

  • Inventory of all assets and arranging for any necessary appraisals

  • Prepare the required information report on assets that do not go through probate

  • Prepare petition for probate and all supporting documentation

  • Obtain bond of personal representative, guaranteeing the executor will fulfill their duties in settling debts, notifying necessary entities, paying taxes and other responsibilities

  • Apply for the required estate taxpayer identification number

  • Prepare tax return for the estate or coordinate with tax preparer

  • Work with tax preparer on tax returns for trusts

  • Work with tax preparer on a separate estate tax form, in the unlikely event that the gross estate value exceeds the state or federal minimum

  • Account for income and expenses and submit to tax preparer

  • Coordination with tax preparer who will be handling the filing of all necessary state and federal tax returns

  • Prepare forms for payment of life insurance contracts

  • Prepare forms for transfer of retirement accounts