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Old 10-04-2011, 05:02 PM   #141
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The estate is well under $5 million. There is no inheritance tax in Texas. Does that mean there is no tax at all to worry about?
It means there is no 706 tax to worry about (the estate tax) however there may well be estate income if bank accounts and the like pay interest while the estate settles, this is filed on form 1041. In Tx my lawyer told me the transfers don't happen until after you file the inventory with the court. In Tx the independent executor just has to do this step, listing whatever may pass by will. Upon filing then the distribution process can proceed. Form 1041 is handled by turbotax business. Note that if a trust becomes involved either by the will or when a revokable trust becomes non revokable it is also necessary to file a 1041 for it as well. During settling my fathers estate I had for one year to file an estate 1041 as well as a testimentary trust 1041.
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Old 10-12-2011, 11:09 AM   #142
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So I called my mothers electric company. I advised them of the situation and asked them to leave the service on but to suspend billing until the will was probated at which time I would pay the bill. They said they had no procedures in place that would make that possible.
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Old 10-12-2011, 11:33 AM   #143
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Just to clairfy, you do not have to take ownership of something if you do not want to.... so if he believes that it should be in the estate he can put it there by refusing the right of survivorship rule (IOW, disclaim that inheritence).... it then becomes part of her estate since he did not take ownership of the asset... (that is of course if there was not a secondary beneficiary named)...
That's what I did with an account that I was joint on with my mother. The amount was small, only a few thousand, but I was joint on it only because I was writing most of her checks for her. When it came time to settle the estate I simply wrote a short letter to the Registrar of Wills explaining why I was joint on it and waiving my right to the account so it went to the rest of the estate.

But that was an easy decision because I also knew that was my mother's intent.

Another way to look at it is in the context of the "ten year rule" as in "Will this matter in ten years?" I read about it in a column about a wise mother who applied that to her teenage daughter's whims. So it was okay for her daughter to dye her hair pink but she drew the line at a tattoo.

So what will be the effect on family relationships in ten years? And does it matter to you?
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Old 10-12-2011, 12:04 PM   #144
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So I called my mothers electric company. I advised them of the situation and asked them to leave the service on but to suspend billing until the will was probated at which time I would pay the bill. They said they had no procedures in place that would make that possible.
When my grandfather stopped paying his utility bills (dementia), the utility companies fussed and fumed at him and wrote stern letters, but then they settled down and kept billing him while tacking on 1.5%/month interest charges.

For over four years.

My father didn't get a call from anyone until my grandfather stopped paying his rent... then the landlord jumped right in.

Could you just keep paying the utility bill from her checking account, and deduct it from everyone's share of the estate? That monthly expense will give the heirs a little incentive to sign the agreement for you to sell the place.

I guess the other alternative would be to stop paying the bills and see what happens. But that would get expensive and would probably be perceived as un-fiduciary behavior.

BTW your real billing issue may be the home's insurance. It's unoccupied, and many insurance policies have a 60-day clause on that. I don't know whether it's better to leave them in blissful ignorance or to promptly notify them.
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Old 10-12-2011, 01:58 PM   #145
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...Also utrecht...you can not help how your mother left things. All you can do is follow the will and the beneficiary designations. Your hands might be somewhat tied on this decision. If that makes your siblings mad...I am sorry. You could offer ...to make them a gift of $13K a piece. When you choose to let them know about this, it might be to your advantage to have the lawyer write a letter with an insert of what the law is regarding beneficiary designations....to help take it off of you somewhat.
+1

For sticky situations, delegate any correspondence to your attorney. I had to do this when I was executing my late husband's Will, of which I was the sole Beneficiary except a few direct bequests of some sentimental household items. I was a JTWROS owner on all other accounts.
The cost was low, but the ROI was fabulous because it forced my husband's family to have to debate the terms of his Will with my attorney, not me. What a relief!
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Old 10-12-2011, 02:32 PM   #146
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So I called my mothers electric company. I advised them of the situation and asked them to leave the service on but to suspend billing until the will was probated at which time I would pay the bill. They said they had no procedures in place that would make that possible.
Then you need to pay and keep clear records so you can be reimbursed when probate is over.
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