I do not have a Trust, only a will. All my assets (IRA's, brokerage accounts, and house) will be divided up equally between my 4 Beneficiaries through TOD and POD, so no probate. But there will be Washington State estate taxes. How does the Executor of my will/estate make sure the Beneficiaries pay their share of the estate tax once the assets are transferred directly to them? If any of the Beneficiaries refuse to pay their share of the estate tax, what happens? Will the State come after the individual Beneficiary who has not paid his portion of the tax? Will the Executor be held liable in any way?
First of all, do not assume that there will not be probate. Unless you place the house in a trust, the house will have to be probated. As far as estate tax is concerned, unless you have a multi-million-dollar estate, there would not be any estate tax. If your estate is that large, you might want to consider a life-insurance-trust or ISLET that pays the tax burden. Make sure that the premiums are paid by the estate. In the event that one or more of your heirs refuse to pay tax, the government will seize their assets to cover the tax. As long as your executor follows the will, he or she will not face any liability. I strongly suggest that you meet with a competent estate planning attorney and a tax advisor so that you are clear on what will occur at your death.
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