Estate Administration Checklist

    Clifton - Greg Otto

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    In administering the estate the Personal Representative, or their counsel, will need the following:

    • Original Will and any Codicils


    • Copies of income tax returns for the preceding three years
    • Contents of any Safe Deposit Box
    • Current addresses and Social Security numbers of all children
    • Car titles
    • Bank statements
    • Brokerage account statements
    • Life insurance policies
    • IRA statements and their beneficiary designations
    • Pensions and annuities statements
    • Stock and Bond certificates
    • Original receipts for funeral expenses

    If there is no surviving spouse:

    • Address change with U.S. Post Office - if we are serving as counsel, we often receive the mail at our offices to ensure nothing of importance is missed.
    • Notice of Fiduciary Relationship, Form 56, filed with IRS - if we are serving as counsel, we will prepare this form on behalf of the Estate.

    If there will be a Maryland and/or Federal Estate Tax Return due (estate valued over $5,000,000):

    We will arrange for:

    • Appraisal of home
    • Appraisal of decedent's joint or solely-owned personal property (home's contents + automobiles, boats, etc.)
    • ** Return is due 9 months following date of death **

    Social Security:

    • If the decedent receives a payment for the month following the month of death, and if the decedent had Direct Deposit, Social Security will electronically take the payment back.
    • If a paper check is received, it must be returned.
    • If the surviving spouse also receives Social Security, he or she will receive the higher amount of their check or the decedent’s check, but only one payment.
    • The surviving spouse must phone Social Security @ 1-800-772-1213 to report status as surviving spouse and answer a few questions to update the survivor's benefits.

    Retain for your Records:

    • Canceled checks and bank statements for five years prior to death. Keep these at least until closing letter from Maryland Comptroller or IRS is received (if a Maryland and/or Federal Estate Tax Return is required).

    For accounts in joint name:

    • Notify the bank, broker, etc. of death and direct them to place the accounts in survivor's name alone.  They may require a death certificate.

    For IRAs and Life Insurance policies:

    • Notify the custodian or insurance company promptly. They will require a death certificate.
    • For IRAs, spouses have the option to roll over the decedent’s IRA into one of their own; non-spouses may set up an inherited IRA to soften the income tax consequences of IRA distributions.

    Clifton - Greg Otto