QE does not do probate applications or tax returns
Written by Melissa Best
Unless the estate is not subject to probate because everything was in joint name with the right of survivorship to a spouse or held in trust, an executor cannot do much until the Will is probated.
Probate is Court certification that the Will is valid and that the named executor(s) is willing and capable of acting. Most financial institutions and government agencies will not give the executor information or allow them to take any action without a probated Will. Getting the Will probated is akin to the giving the executor a driver’s license and the keys to the car.
QuickEstate helps executors understand and prepare for probate, saving them endless hours and saving the estate thousands of dollars in legal fees. However, we purposefully do not provide probate forms. Probate is a legal process that varies widely amongst jurisdictions. QuickEstate neither holds itself out as legal experts nor do we provide legal advice.
Executors are legally bound to get probate as soon as possible. Delays will create angst for everyone involved. We suggest that the executor use an experienced estate lawyer to file the probate application. If the application is not done correctly, it will be rejected by the Court, delaying the entire estate settlement process for weeks or months. Should asset values suddenly plunge during that time, it may result in negative financial consequences for the estate, upsetting the beneficiaries, exposing the executor to risk.
If the executor appears at the first meeting with the estate lawyer, fully prepared with the information stored in QE, it should reduce the bill and expedite the process. Ask how many probate applications the lawyer files every year and get firm quotes from more than one lawyer. Using a lawyer who does not practice regularly in estates may result in even higher fees. If the lawyer is not very fluent in the nuances of probate, their application may be rejected, sometimes more than once.
If the estate is fairly simple and if an executor reasonably savvy, they can try filing the probate application themselves. Probate forms are available on government websites. Court clerks are usually very helpful.
Estate Accounting and Final Income Tax Preparation
QuickEstate does not hold ourselves out as accounting or tax experts. We help executors gather and track financial information and help them understand their accounting and tax obligations.
QuickEstate provides the tools to track estate assets, debts, cash flows, and distributions. If the executor is well prepared at meetings with the accountant it will save endless hours, substantially reduce accounting fees and expedite the final tax filing process.
We strongly recommend that the executor engage an accountant who is experienced in preparing final tax and estate tax returns to ensure they are done correctly. Problems with tax reporting and payments will create endless grief for the executor and delay the distribution process, upsetting the beneficiaries.
©QuickEstate Administrators Inc.