ESTATE ADMINISTRATION: What You Need to Know About Documentation

Estate Administration is an emotional roller coaster and, quite honestly, it entails a lot of time, energy, patience and flexibility.  It doesn’t give you very much time to grieve either; however, that is why we are here to help assist you with the process. Deadlines will quickly approach.  That is why it is very important you schedule a consultation as soon as possible after your loved one passes away. Things will be thoroughly discussed during that consultation; however, we recognize that your emotions are at an all-time high, your head may be spinning, and you may feel sick to your stomach. Don’t worry, we are here to help you. All of this information will be spelled out in a letter for you, which you can continuously refer through-out the entire process. This is important documentation you should keep in a safe but easily accessible place.

DOCUMENTATION.  Do you really need that?  Yes, it is required by the Department of Revenue when the final Inheritance Tax Return has to be submitted for their review.  You have to attach documentation along with the final Inheritance Tax Return. Think of it as the same process as when you pay your bills.  You either receive an invoice via mail or via online and you either write a check or schedule that amount online to be withdrawn from your bank account.  Either way, there is some sort of paper trail for your own finances. The same applies when you are handling the Estate Administration. Easy, right? It is also the same as your personal Income Taxes.  It is recommended you keep them for at least seven (7) years. Well, the same pertains to Estate Administration paperwork/documentation. As long as the Estate is open, you need to keep all documentation in a safe place.  Keep records of ALL receipts, invoices, bills, correspondence, etc. You never know when the Department of Revenue will inquire for more information and you certainly don’t want to give them a reason for such an inquiry.

Since every penny going in and out of the Estate account must be accounted for, it is highly suggested the Personal Representative, Executor or Administrator of the Estate maintain scrupulous record keeping of all monies within that Estate Account.  This record keeping includes copies of invoices, checks, check registers, and monthly copies of the Estate bank statements. These documents will be requested by the Attorney handling the Estate for the preparation of the Inheritance Tax Return. Without documentation (proof), you are risking the final Inheritance Tax Return being rejected or additional information required before the Return will be accepted.

With that being said, less documentation translates to a longer and more difficult Estate Administration process. This also means a longer wait time for the heirs to receive their final distributions to which they are entitled, along with possible accruing interest from the Department of Revenue if the payment of Inheritance Tax is not timely.

For those in need of an Attorney in York Pa for Estate Administration, we are sorry for your loss.  We invite you to call us at 717-846-8846 or 717-235-6133 for a consultation so that we can compassionately and professionally assist you in the process.

Written By:  Nicole Tapias, Support Professional  

As Reviewed By:  William F. Hoffmeyer, Esquire

© Copyright by Hoffmeyer & Semmelman LLC,  February 2019

Review Legal Documents

IT’S TIME: Wills, Power of Attorneys, Trust Agreements, and More

The start of a new year is a perfect time to review the legal documents that you had a lawyer prepare more than five years ago. You know the documents I’m referencing. Wills, Power of Attorneys, Trust Agreements, are just a few. Are they stored in a safe deposit box, or maybe the safe in your office, or did you put them in a drawer in your bedroom? Many times, the last time you looked at them was when you signed them, and your circumstances may be very different in 2019 compared to when you had the documents originally prepared.

Wills should be reviewed every five years. You need to look at your assets and debts compared to when you had the will prepared. Who would you like to receive your cash, stocks, bonds, real estate, pension plans, etc.? Divorce, remarriage and separation could affect how your assets could be distributed. Maybe you now have children, or if you have children they are no longer minors. Grandchildren, adopted children and blended families should be considered. Is the person that you designated as Executor still alive and competent? It’s also a good idea to list several alternate executors so that in the event a named executor predeceases you, there are other executors already named who can be appointed by the court.

Power of Attorneys need reviewed regarding your named Agent. Agents are usually selected as someone you trust to act on your behalf with regard to your property and healthcare when you are no longer able to do so. They can make gifts on your behalf, create trusts, acquire or dispose of property, handle your banking, speak with medical personnel, employ or discharge medical personnel, in general make decisions for you because you trust them and they are aware of your wishes. If your named Agent is now your ex-spouse, deceased, or you no longer trust their judgment to act on your behalf, it might be time to update these documents.

Trusts should be reviewed and possibly amended. When you established your trust, you probably based decisions on your assets, needs and wishes at that time. There are many types of trusts, trusts not only for your sole benefit, but also trusts which can benefit various charitable organizations which you desire to support. Amendments can be made to many trust agreements to change or add beneficiaries, change the disposition of the trust, or to change trustees. Don’t have a trust? Maybe now is the time.

So, dust off those documents, jot down questions and ideas, and then give us a call. We look forward to your call and working with you in 2019.

Hoffmeyer & Semmelman LLC is a law office in York PA. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to review your legal documents.

Written By: Sharon Whiteley As Reviewed By: William F. Hoffmeyer, Esquire**

© Copyright by Hoffmeyer & Semmelman LLC, January 2019


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