Estate and Trust Administration
When a loved one passes away, it can be a very emotional and confusing time. We help ease the stress involved in the death of a loved one, and help our clients cope with the legal complexities of their loss.
Dan Gordon is knowledgeable, sympathetic, and has extensive experience navigating through this process. The legal tools used to administer an estate or trust include:
Federal Estate Tax Returns
Fiduciary Income Tax Returns
Personal Representative's Deeds
Small Estate Affidavits
FAQ: Estate and Trust Administration
Q: What is probate?
A: Probate is the legal process that takes place after someone dies. Probate gives someone the authority to gather the decedent’s probate assets, pay debts and taxes, and eventually transfer assets to the people who inherit them.
Q: When is probate necessary?
A: Only assets that a decedent owned in his or her own name, exceeding a total of $50,000, need to go through probate. All other assets (such as jointly titled assets or beneficiary designated assets) pass to new owners without oversight from the probate court.
Q: How long does the probate process last?
A: The probate process can take anywhere from six months up to one year or more, depending on the situation.
Q: Is there an alternative to probate?
A: Yes! If the total probate estate is worth less than $50,000, a simple affidavit can be prepared for someone receiving property from the decedent. That affidavit is then provided to the holding institution (a bank, for example), and the institution will turn over the property. A contingency to this process is that the property is not able to be turned over for 45 days (or 5 days if it is for the transfer of a vehicle) following the decedent’s date of death.
Q: Will there be death taxes due as a result of my death?
A: The Indiana state inheritance tax was repealed for deaths on or after January 1, 2013, which means that no inheritance tax will be assessed by the State of Indiana as long as the decedent died on or after January 1, 2013.
The current federal estate tax exemption is $5.45 million; this will increase to $5.49 million as of January 1, 2017. Unless the value of your assets is greater than that amount, your estate is not taxable. Beginning in January 2011, estates of decedents survived by a spouse may elect to pass any of the decedent’s unused exemption to the surviving spouse, essentially allowing married couples to give away during life or transfer at death almost $11 million worth of assets without owing tax.
State and federal tax laws are always changing, so there is a chance that these laws could be changed or modified in the future.
Q: When does a gift become subject to the federal gift tax?
A: Currently, a gift totaling more than $14,000 to one person in one year is considered a taxable gift and may generate potential gift tax. Although you may not immediately owe gift tax upon making a gift, a gift totaling more than $14,000 still requires the preparation and filing of a federal gift tax return.
Click here to visit the complete list of Frequently Asked Questions.