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WA-Probate > Probate Instructions > Probate for Dummies > Administering the Simple Estate
Preparing an Inventory & Appraisement
Handling Creditor's Claims
Handling Tax Issues
A. Preparing an Inventory & Appraisement ñ
Although not required to be filed with the Court, it may be helpful to you to complete an
Inventory & Appraisement form.
Timing: Within 3 months after appointment.
B. Handling Creditor's Claims ñ
Publishing a Probate Notice to Creditors
Conducting a Reasonable Review to Identify Decedent's Creditors
Giving Each Possible Creditor Actual Notice
Determining Whether Creditor's Claims Are Lawfully Presented
Disposing of Lawfully Presented Creditor's Claims
1. Publishing a Probate Notice to Creditors ñ
You have already completed and filed your Probate Notice to Creditors
form. Mail a copy of your filed form to a legal
newspaper in Decedent's resident county at death for its publication once each
week for three successive weeks. See:
Legal Newspapers & Costs of Publication
for possible newspapers and costs of publication.
Timing: Within 30 days after appointment.
Promptly following the third publication, file the Affidavit of Publication, which the newspaper will mail to you.
2. Conducting a Reasonable Review to Identify Decedent's Creditors ñ
With "reasonable diligence":
Correspondence, including correspondence received after date of
Financial records, including personal financial statements,
loan documents, checkbooks, bank statements, and income tax returns
--- that are in your possession or reasonably available to you;
Make a list of each possible creditor found in your review.
Timing: Soon after appointment.
3. Giving Each Possible Creditor Actual Notice ñ
Complete the Header (top half of first page of pleading) to
the Creditor's Claim form.
To each possible creditor found in your review, mail by Certified
Mail - Return Receipt Requested:
A copy of your Probate Notice to Creditors form
with its date of first publication filled in,
Creditor's Claim form.
Timing: Within 3 months after first publication of your Probate Notice to Creditors.
4. Determining Whether Creditor's Claims Are Lawfully Presented ñ
All Creditor's Claims are assumed to be lawfully presented.
5. Disposing of Lawfully Presented Creditor's Claims ñ
All lawfully presented Creditor's Claims are assumed to be promptly and fully paid.
C. Handling Tax Issues ñ
Handling Income Tax Issues
Handling Estate Tax Issues
1. Handling Income Tax Issues ñ
a. Federal ñ
Download and review:
IRS Tax Topic 356 - Decedents, which outlines the Personal
Representative's responsibilities in general, and
IRS Publication 559: Survivors, Executors, and Administrators, which details the issues at the Federal tax level.
(i) Decedent's Income Tax Returns:
As Decedent's Personal Representative, file Decedent's final Income Tax Return (Form 1040) for the year of death, as well as any Returns not filed for prior years.
(ii) Probate Estate's Income Tax Return:
Fiduciary Income Tax Return:
A probate estate is its own taxable entity, separate from the Decedent and his/her heirs or beneficiaries, that begins upon the Decedent's date of death and ends upon final distribution of its assets to the heirs or beneficiaries. As Decedent's Personal Representative, annually file the Estate's income tax return (Form 1041, a Fiduciary Return) and pay any income tax due, which may b e done on either a calendar (ie, due April 15 of the following year) or a fiscal year basis.
b. Washington ñ
Washington has no personal income tax, so this issue is moot.
2. Handling Estate Tax Issues ñ
Decedent's taxable estate is assumed to be less than that requiring the filing a federal or Washington estate tax return, so these issues are moot.
You now have completed the steps required to administer a typical simple probate estate.