Settling an Estate Settling an estate can be a time-consuming and technical process. Navigating the legal, tax, and property considerations involved can prove a particularly daunting challenge. That’s why our clients have chosen Commerce Trust Company as their trustee and estate administrator. We’re here to provide guidance and continuity to family members and loved ones during this difficult time. OUR RESPONSIBILITIES In our role as trustee and personal representative/executor of the estate, Commerce Trust will undertake certain duties on behalf of the beneficiaries. Depending on the capacity in which we are serving, we will: 1. Collect and create an inventory of all trust and estate assets. This may include bank accounts, stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, real estate, and personal property. 2. Change the mailing address of the deceased so that Commerce Trust can collect all mail. 3. Coordinate with a local attorney for the timely and accurate completion of probate court requirements and proceedings (if needed). 4. Contact nursing homes, utility, insurance, and other service providers to collect refunds and add them to the total estate. 5. Complete forms and provide the documentation needed to receive death benefits from life insurance policies, annuities, and other types of benefits and contracts. 6. Secure and protect all estate assets for distribution to beneficiaries according to the trust agreement. This may include changing locks on trust real estate and cars, or working with a local attorney to secure personal property like artwork, jewelry, and coins. 7. Arrange appraisals and inspections of any real estate included in the trust. 8. Obtain appraisals and date of death valuations of any other trust and estate assets for cost basis calculations, tax returns, and other estate processes. 9. Sell or distribute all property (e.g., real estate, automobiles, artwork, jewelry, etc.) according to the estate planning document. 10. Publish local notice to creditors and/or notice of trust to shorten the amount of time creditors have to assert claims against the estate. 11. Review and pay all outstanding bills and debts of the estate. This includes resolving any creditor claims against the estate. 12. File state and federal tax returns with the appropriate agencies including the final individual and trust income tax returns, and if necessary, the Federal Estate Tax Return (Form 706.) 13. Distribute income and assets to the beneficiaries according to the trust or will. 14. Fund any continuing trusts. There are several important milestones we must reach on our way to closing the trust and issuing final distributions to beneficiaries. ESTATE ADMINISTRATION TIMELINE Here are a few important time periods to remember: Notice to Creditors: We use this to notify any creditors that may have a claim against the estate or trust. In most cases, the time that claimants have to come forward is between three and 12 months depending on local laws. Using this process, we can protect beneficiaries from any creditors of the estate after final distributions. Income Tax Return: We file both an individual and trust tax return during this process. The individual return is submitted for the year of death; a trust tax return is for the period between the grantor’s death and final distributions.
Wealth | Investments | Planning Commerce Trust Company
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