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The Executor's Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Settling an Estate for Executors, Administrators, and Beneficiaries Paperback – June 1, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
After reading this book you can probably be an executor for an estate without hiring an attorney (assuming no legal documents have to be prepared or filed in court). I found this book in the reference section of the Westfield Pubic Library (NJ) along with its companion book: A Family Guide to Wills, Funerals & Probate (ISBN: 081604550X). This book was written for an executor to read, and the companion book concerned much of the same material but for the decedent to read before he or she dies.
I thought this book was great, and that it will help an executor gain a grasp of his or her responsibilities when administering and closing a decedent's estate. It is written without legal jargon. Have you ever had to administer an estate and gone to an attorney for help? Did you expect the attorney to tell you about your duties and delegate as much of the work to you as possible? And did you find the attorney did a lot of work you think you could and should have done? Well, if so, then this book probably could have helped you talk to the attorney and have more worked delegated to you.
This book is as comprehensive as it needs to be to educate an executor about his or her duties. When those duties can be complicated, the authors explain the basics so an attorney can be consulted to provide legal services. Keep in mind that many estates can be settled without any legal help being needed. Thus, I recommend an executor read this book before ever seeking an attorney for help, guidance, or services.
The edition of the book I read was hardbound and very pretty. There was an index of terms in the back of the book. However, I would have liked the book better if there had been a glossary of terms back there, too.Read more ›
At some point in your life, you will either write a will, be a beneficiary of someone who has died, or be appointed as the executor of an estate for someone close to you who has died. This book will be your experienced companion telling you what is happening and what you are required by law to do.
The advantage of this book over others is that it gives you a solid procedure to follow in administering and closing an estate for someone who has died. My father died with such a small estate and an IRS bill to boot, that a formal or informal probate was not necessary: I used the `transfer by affidavit' procedure. Even still, my official `to do list' occupied an entire printed page. This book will lead you through this process.
My main criticism is the chapter on taxes. It has much info about Estate taxes, but is woefully inadequate about the nuts and bolts of dealing with the IRS: take the author's warning seriously, that the vast majority of your time and effort in dealing with an estate has to do with the IRS.
You will need to:
**get an EIN for the estate
**file form 1041 for the estate
**file form 56
**file all back tax forms 1040
**file, if necessary, a final 1040 for the year of death
**apply for accelerated determination of final taxes and release of liability for the executor
Because I had no access to my father's info, I had to file 4868 for an extension of 1040 until I could get a handle on my dad's financial affairs.
My duty as personal representative is not over yet, so stay tuned for further details. Nevertheless, I have already found this book to indispensable that I cannot do without.
Here is an undisputable fact for you to consider: fees erode an estate. The price of purchasing two books through Amazon is substantially less than the $255 per hour I paid out the last time I used a lawyer back in 2006.
Here is my key to success: nobody must complain. The case was assigned as unsupervised, informal administration. This meant that I would not have to go in front of a judge unless someone complained to the court. If I could keep the law clerks and the court's compliance department happy, then I just had to make sure that I paid all of the creditors and kept the beneficiaries happy. Success seemed possible!
Above all, make sure that you pay the court their fees on time! I actually did this, but I waited until the last day. For some reason, the paperwork did not rattle its way through the system quickly, and I got a letter from the court stating that I was delinquent. They later admitted over the phone that everything was ok. The tone of a delinquency letter from the court is the exact opposite of a Valentines Day card. It is designed to make an impression on you. I do not think that you will enjoy reading it!
I do expect to be an executor again, and whether I will try to get through probate myself without a lawyer will depend upon the complexity of the situation, including how amicable are the beneficiaries and whether all the creditors will get their money. This book has much excellent general advice to executors--even if they do use a lawyer--so it will still be of use.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book was fine in content and structure but was a little out of date. I had expected better giving its recommendations. Read morePublished on August 12, 2011 by Paul Johnson
I have asked several attorneys where to get a well-rounded introduction to trusts and estates, and I have had few recommendations that were not technical. Read morePublished on December 8, 2010 by Michael Schilmoeller
I am currently involved with helping my mother settle my dad's estate....and this is the first estate settlement I have been involved with. Read morePublished on October 18, 2009 by Artephius (.