How Do I File As Executor/Personal Representative?

If you are appointed to be the executor or personal representative of a decedent's estate, you should be aware of your responsibilities and liabilities connected with that position. You will have a responsibility to the estate and its beneficiaries to collect and safeguard the assets of the estate, pay the debts of the decedent, and carry out the administration of the estate in accordance with the deceased's wishes, as well as federal and state laws. This may include the filing of an estate tax return, as well as income tax returns for income earned by the estate during administration.

Depending on the size and complexity of the estate, you may need to engage legal and/or tax professionals to assist you. This is especially true if the estate is large enough to be subject to federal estate taxes, since the law holds the executor or personal representative PERSONALLY responsible for this tax if distributions are made to beneficiaries and the estate is then unable to pay the tax.

IRS Publication 559 provides basic information on estate administration and required tax filings. It can be obtained by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM.



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