Administering the Simple Estate
- Preparing an Inventory & Appraisement
- Handling Creditor’s Claims
- Handling Tax Issues
A. Preparing an Inventory & Appraisement
Although not required to be filed with the Court, it may be helpful to you to complete an
Timing: Within 3 months after appointment.
B. Handling Creditor’s Claims
- 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
- 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
With “reasonable diligence”:
- Review Decedent’s:
- Correspondence, including correspondence received after date of death; and>
- 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; and …
- Make a list of each possible creditor found in your review.
Timing: Soon after appointment.
3. Giving Each Possible Creditor Actual Notice
- 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, and
- A Header-completed
Timing: Within 3 months after first publication of your Probate Notice to Creditors.
4. Determining Whether Creditor’s Claims Are Lawfully Presented
All Creditor’s Claims are assumed to be lawfully presented.
5. Disposing of Lawfully Presented Creditor’s Claims
All lawfully presented Creditor’s Claims are assumed to be promptly and fully paid.
C. Handling Tax Issues
- Handling Income Tax Issues
- Handling Estate Tax Issues
1. Handling Income Tax Issues
a. Federal ñ
Download and review:
(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
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.