Book Description

Estate and Trust Administration For Dummies, 2nd Edition (9781119543879) was previously published as Estate and Trust Administration For Dummies, 2nd Edition (9781118412251). While this version features a new Dummies cover and design, the content is the same as the prior release and should not be considered a new or updated product.


Your plain-English guide to administering an estate and/or trust

As more and more of the population reach senior ages—including baby boomers, many of whom do not have wills—an increasing number of people are being thrust into the role of executor, administrator, personal representative of an estate, or trustee of a trust after the death of a loved one. This updated edition of Estate & Trust Administration For Dummies guides you through the confusing process of administering an estate and/or trust. 

Settling an estate and administering a trust can be complicated, messy, and time-consuming for individuals named as executor or trustee, most of whom have no previous experience with such matters. Estate & Trust Administration For Dummies shows you how to make sound decisions for your unique circumstances.

  • Guides you through the confusing process of administering an estate and/or trust
  • Provides expert advice on unfamiliar estate and trust tax law
  • Gives you a practical checklist to follow for all of your estate and trust administration questions and concerns

Whether you're looking for guidance on how to navigate the probate process and estate taxes, settle debts and bequests, fund a trust, comply with tax regulations, or anything in between, this hands-on, friendly guide takes away the mystery and provides detailed answers to all of your estate and trust administration questions.


Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Introduction
    1. About This Book
    2. Conventions Used in This Book
    3. What You’re Not to Read
    4. Foolish Assumptions
    5. How This Book Is Organized
    6. Icons Used in This Book
    7. Beyond the Book
    8. Where to Go from Here
  3. Part 1: Getting Started with Estate and Trust Administration
    1. Chapter 1: Operating in a Fiduciary World
      1. Identifying the Players
      2. Estate of Change: Delving into Estates
      3. Operating a Trust
      4. Paying Uncle Sam
    2. Chapter 2: Exploring the Ins and Outs of Estates
      1. Defining the Estate for Probate Administration Purposes
      2. Will Power: Understanding How a Will (Or No Will) Affects an Estate
      3. Taking a Look at Who Can Inherit
      4. Defining the Estate for Tax Purposes
    3. Chapter 3: Identifying Different Types of Trusts
      1. Differentiating for Income Taxes: Grantor versus Non-Grantor Trusts
      2. Creating Trusts during Lifetime and after Death
      3. Grasping Revocable Trusts
      4. Understanding Irrevocable Trusts
      5. Exploring Charitable Trusts
      6. Owning Subchapter S Shares in Trust
    4. Chapter 4: Assembling Your Team Members and Knowing When to Use Them
      1. Finding What You Need to Go It Alone
      2. Finding an Attorney
      3. Hiring a Tax Professional
      4. Considering Help from Other Pros
      5. Recognizing Malpractice
  4. Part 2: Administering an Estate
    1. Chapter 5: Taking the First Steps after Death
      1. Addressing the Immediate Concerns When Someone Dies
      2. Arranging the Funeral
      3. Understanding How Death Changes Everything about the Decedent’s Assets
      4. Locating the Estate-Planning Documents
      5. Notifying Those Who Need to Be Notified
      6. Creating Calendars and Files
    2. Chapter 6: Navigating the Probate Process
      1. Filing the Last Will with the Probate (Or Equivalent) Court
      2. Figuring Out Whether Administration Is Necessary
      3. Deciding What Shape Your Probate Procedure Should Take
      4. Taking Important First Steps after Your Appointment
      5. Eyeing the Surviving Spouse’s Rights and Decisions Regarding Property
    3. Chapter 7: Marshalling and Liquidating Assets
      1. Understanding Why You Need to Determine What the Decedent Owned
      2. Observing the Obvious: Big-Ticket Items
      3. Tracking Down All the Other Assets
      4. Listing Personal and Household Effects
      5. Appraising the Property
      6. Contacting the Employer about Employee Benefits
      7. Locating and Collecting Insurance Proceeds
      8. Ascertaining Any Other Death Benefits
      9. Preparing and Filing the Probate Inventory
      10. Liquidating Assets
    4. Chapter 8: Paying the Debts, Expenses, Bequests, and Devises from the Estate
      1. Determining and Paying Debts of the Decedent and Administration Expenses
      2. Informing Potential Beneficiaries of Their Right to Consider Disclaimer
      3. Segregating and Distributing Specific Property
      4. Dividing Other Personal Property Equitably
      5. Slicing Up the Residue
    5. Chapter 9: Closing the Estate
      1. Obtaining Tax Closing Letters
      2. Acquiring Releases of Lien for Real Estate
      3. Paying Final Administration Expenses
      4. Making Final Distributions to Residuary Beneficiaries
      5. Preparing and Filing Final Estate Income Tax Returns
      6. Readying Accounts for Allowance by the Probate Court
  5. Part 3: Operating a Revocable or Irrevocable Trust
    1. Chapter 10: Understanding the Trustee’s Duties
      1. Getting Acquainted with the Trust Instrument
      2. Empowering the Trustee
      3. Coloring Inside the Lines: Understanding Fiduciary Duty and Limitations
      4. Protecting the Trust’s Assets
      5. Preparing and Filing Annual Income Tax Returns and Accounts
    2. Chapter 11: Funding the Trust
      1. Putting Assets in Trust during Life
      2. Signing It Over: Giving the Trust Asset Ownership
      3. Rolling Property into Trust after Death
    3. Chapter 12: Investing the Trust’s Assets and Paying Its Expenses
      1. Appreciating the Importance of Income and Principal in Trust Administration
      2. Using Investment Advisors Effectively
      3. Holding and Diversifying Assets
      4. Going Green in a Trust
      5. Looking to the Beneficiaries’ Needs
      6. Paying the Trust’s Expenses
    4. Chapter 13: Paying Trust Beneficiaries
      1. Notifying Beneficiaries of the Trust
      2. Determining Scheduled Distributions
      3. Distributing When the Beneficiary Reaches a Specific Age
      4. When Beneficiaries Request More Money: Paying Out Extra Distributions
      5. Making the Decision to Distribute Discretionally: Eyeing the Trust’s Terms
    5. Chapter 14: Creating and Keeping Trust Records
      1. Creating a Filing System
      2. Preparing an Initial Inventory and Valuing the Assets
      3. Compiling Records of All Transactions
      4. Producing Annual Trust Accounts
    6. Chapter 15: Terminating the Trust
      1. Distributing All Assets According to the Trust Instrument
      2. Submitting the Final Income Tax Returns
      3. Preparing Final Accounting and Obtaining Assents of All Remaindermen
      4. Dealing with Outliers after the Trust Terminates
  6. Part 4: Paying the Taxes
    1. Chapter 16: Preparing the Estate Tax Return, Part 1
      1. Figuring Out Which Estates Must File
      2. Obtaining a Release from Personal Liability
      3. Understanding Some of the Nitty-Gritty Rules for Filing Form 706
      4. Completing the Form 706, Pages 1–4
      5. Being Ready for and Handling an Audit
      6. Getting an Estate Tax Closing Letter
    2. Chapter 17: Preparing the Estate Tax Return, Part 2
      1. Tackling the Most Common Schedules
      2. Knowing When to Ask for Help
    3. Chapter 18: Filing Income Tax Returns for a Decedent, Estate, or Trust
      1. Before You Begin: What You Need to Do
      2. Calculating the Income
      3. Deducing Deductions
      4. Answering the Questions on the Back of Page 2 (Form 1041)
    4. Chapter 19: Weighing Income Tax Implications
      1. Timing Payments In and Out of an Estate
      2. Investing to Minimize Income Taxes
      3. Introducing the Unearned Income Medicare Contribution (UIMC) Tax
    5. Chapter 20: Reporting Tax Info on Schedule K-1
      1. Understanding Schedule K-1
      2. Allocating Types of Income on the K-1
      3. Preparing Supplements to Schedule K-1
      4. Creating Nominee Form 1099s
  7. Part 5: The Part of Tens
    1. Chapter 21: Ten Pitfalls for the Unwary
      1. Failing to Terminate an Existing Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement
      2. Taking a Lump Sum Distribution from a Pension Plan, IRA, or Deferred Compensation Plan
      3. Creating a Feeding Frenzy When Splitting Personal Property
      4. Missing Court Deadlines
      5. Forgetting Tax Filing Deadlines
      6. Failing to Communicate with the Heirs and Legatees
      7. Exercising Poor Fiduciary Judgment
      8. Underestimating the Devotion Required
      9. Taking Nonsanctioned Shortcuts
      10. Paying from the Wrong Pocket
    2. Chapter 22: Ten Types of Taxes You May Have to Pay
      1. Federal Gift Tax
      2. Federal Estate Tax
      3. Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax
      4. State Inheritance or Estate Tax
      5. Estate and Trust Income Taxes (Federal and State)
      6. Decedent’s Final Federal and State Income Taxes
      7. Local Income Taxes
      8. Local Real Estate Taxes
      9. State Intangibles Taxes
      10. Excise Taxes
  8. Appendix A: Glossary
  9. Appendix B: State-by-State Rules of Intestacy and Estate or Inheritance Tax
  10. Index
  11. About the Authors
  12. Connect with Dummies
  13. End User License Agreement