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Estate and Trust Administration For Dummies Paperback – November 24, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Easy-to-follow guidance on administering an estate or trust

Administering an estate or a trust is a big responsibility. This practical, authoritative guide contains advice for handling estates and trusts large or small, offering solid advice on reading and interpreting documents, and helping anyone involved in an estate or trust avoid paying too much, or too little, tax and other administrative expenses. It also shows you how to take care of a loved one's estate in the event he or she never created a will or other estate planning documents.

  • Understand and follow the rules — administer estates and trusts to ensure a smooth transfer of property and orderly management of fiduciary affairs

  • Assemble a team — choose the legal and financial experts, and know when to use them

  • Navigate the probate process — move efficiently through each step, whether your decedent had many assets or just a few

  • Identify and liquidate estate assets — whether owned outright, jointly, or in a trust

  • Settle debts and pay bequests — from paying funeral expenses and administration costs to segregating and distributing named property

  • Operate a revocable or irrevocable trust — understand a trustee's duties, responsibilities, and limitations

  • Make sound trust investment decisions — diversify holdings and meet beneficiary needs

  • Comply with income and estate tax regulations — from the decedent's final Form 1040, through the estate's Form 706, and the estate and trust's Form 1041

Open the book and find:

  • An overview of executors' and trustees' duties

  • Reviews of the probate process and estate taxes

  • Tips on finding and managing professional help

  • Advice on notifying insurers of a death

  • Steps for closing an estate

  • Rules for establishing and funding a trust

  • Essentials on estate and trust record keeping

  • Fundamentals of preparing federal estate tax and estate and trust income tax returns

About the Author

Margaret Atkins Munro, EA, is a tax advisor, writer, and lecturer with more than 30 years' experience in trusts, estates, family tax, and small business.

Kathryn A. Murphy, Esq., is an attorney with over 20 years' experience administering estates and trusts and preparing estate and gift tax returns.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: For Dummies; 1 edition (November 24, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470286172
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470286173
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #702,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I give this book 5 stars. It was succinct, humorous and very informative. I believe a rookie or an expert in the trust and estate arena could benefit from this book. The glossary is of great value because the terms are defined in plain english and in one place for easy reference. The summary of state by state analysis is also a wonderful resource for all readers throughout the United States, as it provides an explanation of how an estate is distributed if there is no will to direct the distribution of property. I found the information on trust administration particularly helpful. I think the book is well written and uses humor throughout, making what is usually a dry subject matter, quite enjoyable and interesting.
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Format: Paperback
This book demystifies a difficult subject that confounds us mere mortals. Written conversationally in an easy to read style, I found it helpful, practical and thorough. Rather than claiming to replace professionals (some of which you'll still need), it gives you the information to know what questions to ask and guides you through a complicated maze of procedure and decision making. It includes checklists, suggestions and much, much more. Totally worth reading!
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Format: Paperback
Estate and Trust Administration for Dummies is a comprehensive and comprehensible book written by two experts who have considerable expertise in the legal, financial, and personal aspects of estate and trust administration. The book is organized in a logical manner. The first part of the book provides an introduction to and overview of estates and trusts. The subsequent parts deal in turn with estates, trusts, and taxes. For some readers, the first part may be all they need to read in detail, and the rest will serve as an important reference book for specific questions and issues that will arise as the estate/trust process proceeds. There are numerous cross-citations throughout the book that identify other relevant sections to read. Even if one is using professional help with the administration of an estate and/or trust (which is likely), professionals do not always have the time or ability to explain things with the detail yet clarity of this book (or will charge a princely sum to do so). Interesting and humorous anecdotes from the authors' experience are interspersed with the technical information, which adds to the readability of the book. Mistakes in administration can be very costly, and this modestly-priced book provides a wealth of information that anyone dealing with an estate and/or trust should have.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I know each person purchases a book with certain expectations but I just don't understand any significant criticism of this one. My brother-in-law and I have been working on our wives' mother's estate and trust for over two months and this book tells us everything we've learned the hard way. Read the book - or do it yourself and THEN read the book so you can rightly chastise yourself for being a 'Dummie'!

Need to figure out if you, personally, have the skill and patience to administer a trust without professional help? Read the book.

Need to settle an 'estate' outside that trust and wonder if you can take those assets through probate? Read the book.

Getting back to the rare but perplexing criticism of this book, I must conclude those individuals are looking for a one-page 'checklist' of things they should do. Anyone who has actually administered a trust or estate knows that's ridiculous. Each trust and/or estate is unique. The common-sense assistance this book provides will tell you if you should be doing this yourself in the first place. It requires patience and significant organizational skill. You'll never spend a smaller amount of money to determine your ability to do this and if you choose to, it provides a pathway.

Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
This book was a disappointment for me. I did not feel it did a good job providing an overview of the process required to settle a decedent's estate. I found the organization to be very lacking. I found some of the topics to be poorly explained in such a way as to arguably provide misinformation. And there were typos, too. The book is split into 5 parts and 21 chapters as follows:

I. Discovering the world of estates and trusts (1-4)
II. Administering an estate (5-9)
III. Operating a trust (10-15)
IV. Paying the taxes (16-19)
V. The part of tens (20-21)

0. Introduction
1. Functioning in a fiduciary world
2. Estates 101: Exploring the ins and outs of estates
3. The lowdown on trusts: Indentifying the different types
4. Assembling your team members and know when to use them
5. Take the first steps after death
6. Navigating the probate process
7. Marshalling and liquidating assets
8. Paying the debts, expenses, bequests, and devises from the estate
9. Closing the estate
10. Understanding the trustee's duties
11. Funding the trust
12. Investing the trust assets and paying its expenses
13. Paying trust beneficiaries
14. Creating and keeping trust records
15. Terminating the trust
16. Preparing the Estate Tax Return, Part 1
17. Preparing the Estate Tax Return, Part 2
18. Filing income tax returns for decedent, estate, or trust
19. Reporting tax info on Schedule K-1
20. Ten pitfalls for the unwary
21. Ten types of taxes you may have to pay
A. Glossary
B. State-by-state summary of Rules of Intestacy, and estate/inheritance taxes

Part II was my favorite part of the book.
Read more ›
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