My father recently passed away, my mother deceased 10 yrs prior, only have one brother. Father had all assets (including house) in title of Irrevocable Trust. Only monies in his social security number would be small $7000.00 checking account. His small life insurance policy of $10K also in trust, with my brother and I as beneficiaries. What are my first steps to take ? Is there paperwork to take to courthouse? Will that small amt of money be probated? We would like to dissolve trust and split money but we are not ready to sell house yet, can we take the money out of trust (do I, as Trustee, just write a check to my brother) and myself, but what are the tax ramifications? Would like to do on my own if poss and don't need assist of CPA or Attorney.
It sounds as though you have a lot of issues that should be addressed by a professional. And without knowing more about your situation, I am unable to answer your questions specifically. Although you would prefer to do this "on your own" you would be well advised to secure the services of an attorney in your area who is knowledgeable and experienced in probate law, especially if you are not planning to terminate and distribute the trust right away as you suggest. Trusts and estates have their own income tax, which is far more complex than the income tax for individuals. There will also be an Inheritance Tax return to prepare and file for the State of Pennsylvania. You should get professional assistance.
Ms. Willi is a tax attorney, CPA, and Ohio-Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law, with offices in Westerville, Ohio. She serves client families and private business owners throughout Ohio. Ms. Willi responds to Avvo questions as a public service to help educate and provide general guidance to questioners, but her responses are not legal advice and do not create an attorney-client relationship. Her posts are provided for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for advice provided by an attorney or licensed tax professional. Her phone number is 614-890-0500 and her website is www.willilaw.com.
Trying to do all of this without the advice of an experienced probate attorney is like trying to set and cast your own broken leg. I find that in most cases, people are concerned about costs because they have heard that the attorneys gets a percentage of the estate, While some attorneys may still charge a percentage, most probate attorneys bill hourly for the work performed. There are many items that must be done even if there is no probate. A lot of attorneys will provide guidance and do the "legal" matters but allow you to complete other tasks with proper guidance.
To answer one of your questions -- if there is only $7,000 in your father's name alone, probate will not be necessary. You will simply take a death certificate and paid receipt from the funeral home to the bank and the account may be closed.
This answer is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney/client relationship.
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