1) Go to Probate Court and Get Your Appointment
A decedent will list their executor (or executrix) in their will. If the decedent did not name one or did not have a will, the court will appoint someone to manage the affairs of the estate.
This person will be known as an administrator or adminstratrix. The appointment will allow you to manage the affairs of the estate. Keep in mind the entire process will be overseen by the Probate Court.
2) Get Extra Copies of the Death Certificate
The death certificate will be needed at various times to help gather the assets of the deceased. Most financial institutions will require a death certificate, along with other paperwork for them to re-title or transfer assets.
3) Apply for a Federal Tax Identification Number
Most estates will need to file an income tax return. While people are living they file Form 1040. When they pass away, the estate must file U.S Income Tax Return for Estates and Trusts, Form 1041. An estate is not required to file Form 1041 if the gross income for the year is less than $600. The executor should complete Application for Federal Tax Identification Number, Form SS-4.
The fastest way to obtain a federal tax identification number is to apply online with the IRS.
4) Open an Estate Checking Account
One of the responsibilities of the executor is to pay all of the debts of the estate. To do this an estate checking account will need to be opened. To open an account the bank will require a federal tax identification number.
5) File a Change of Address Form
Unless the executor lived with the decedent, it’s likely a Change of Address; Form 8822 should be filed with the IRS. Additionally a Connecticut Change of Address; Form CT-8822 should also be filed with the Department of Revenue Services. This will notify the taxing authorities of the current mailing address.
6) File a Notice Concerning Fiduciary Relationship
An executor should file Notice Concerning Fiduciary Relationship Form 56 with the IRS. This puts the IRS on notice that the executor has a fiduciary relationship regarding this estate. When the estate is closed the executor should terminate this relationship by filing Form 56 again.
Next Week – 7 Easy Steps to Manage an Estate in Connecticut
If you need any assistance with a Connecticut Estate please feel free to contact us.
Thomas F. Scanlon, CPA, CFP®
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