The following is information that we will need from you to assist you with your trustee or executor administration duties. Due to the different types of trusts and variations in their complexity, not all areas listed will apply to you. There will most likely be other items not listed that we will identify through the discovery process. Please note: the facts and circumstances are different in every case.
The first thing you should do, if you have not done so already, is to set aside a file box or drawer to keep all the required documents in one place. We suggest an inexpensive plastic file box which you can purchase specifically for this purpose. This way you can keep everything in one place and take the whole box to your meetings with us, your attorney, or any other times you may need to take everything with you.
- INFORMATION WE WOULD LIKE TO HAVE FOR OUR FIRST MEETING:
- Copy of the Death Certificate
- Copy of the current Trust and/or Will if one is available. We will need to read them to determine how the tax returns should be completed.
- Copy of the most recent tax return filed by the decedent
- A general list of the assets of the Estate or Trust and approximate values
- A list of beneficiaries and amounts or percentages they are to receive. We will also compare your figures with what the will or trust says.
- Name and phone number of any attorney who is helping with the Estate
- Federal Tax ID Number if one has already been obtained, or we can apply for one you’re the estate.
- “Letters Testamentary” or other court order confirming your appointment as Administrator. (Note: You may not have this, as it is not always required).
- At our first meeting we will discuss other information that will be needed to complete tax returns, and what actions you will need to take to complete your tax and accounting responsibilities.
- INFORMATION WE WILL EVENTUALLY NEED
At some point, we will ask you to provide this information and/ord documentation in order to complete income tax returns for the Estate or Trust you administer.
- Name, Address and Social Security Number for all Beneficiaries
- Records of all income received by decedent prior to deathThis may include W2’s, pension and social security statements, 1099’s or broker statements for incestment income, business or rental income, or any other source of income which will need to be reported on a final income tax return.
- Records of any expenses that may be deducted on a final tax returnThis may include things like mortgage interest, charitable contributions, business or investment expenses, or any other item which may be claimed as an expense on a tax return.
- Income and expense records after the date of death through the end of the taxable year. This is often a calendar year, but in some cases a “fiscal” year may be elected with a different month ending.
- Records showing any tax “basis” of annuities or retirement accounts.These are amounts which are not subjected to income tax when the balances in these accounts are distributed.
- INFORMATION RELATED TO THE VALUE OF THE ESTATE
This information is generally required if either Trust or Estate Accounting is required, or if an Estate Tax Return must be filed.
- Copies of all bank account statements to determine date of death value
- Brokerage accounts for stocks, bonds, and Mutual Funds and values as of date of death
- Any investments in Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies or similar types of investments, investment name, tax ID, and percentage owned. A value will need to be established for each investment of this type.
- List of any Annuities, including name, account number, value and tax basis.
- List of all Life Insurance Policies including name, account number and value
- Copies of retirement accounts (IRAs, 401(k) – value and tax basis (if any)
- Appraisal of operating businessAny operating business which continues after the owner’s death will need to be appraised. Liquidation value of a business which ceases on the owners death will need to be determined.
- List of all Real Estate owned and value as of date of deathProfessional appraisals may be required for this unless the property is actually sold during the time administration of the estate.
- Any other investment not included above
- List of any vehicles or boatsIncluding make, model, year, license number, and Fair Market Value (FMV)
- Detailed list of personal property of investment valueAny single item or collection of artwork, jewelry, antiques, other collections or other items of personal property with a significant investment value (more than $1,000) should be included in this category. Personal items such as clothing, household furniture, or other personal property, etc. can usually be aggregated in one amount.
- List of all debts of the estateThis includes mortgages on Real Estate, car loans, credit cards, or any other loans on which regular payments are made.
- List of final expenses paid on the decendent’s behalfThis could include utility bills, final medical expenses, or any other items which are due and payable as of the date of death.
- Other expenses paid by AdministratorList of any funeral or other expenses paid in administering the Estate such as legal, accounting, reimbursement to the administrator for travel or telephone expense, copies to be made
- INFORMATION NEEDED FOR FORMAL ACCOUNTING REPORTS
Many, but not all, Trusts or Estates may be required by law to provide formal accounting reports to either the Probate Court or to beneficiaries. Never throw anything away – including monthly statements or any information on old or closed accounts – as they will probably be needed to complete this accounting. We need to verify not only income received, and expenses paid, but also any transfers between accounts, or other distributions.
To complete formal accounting reports we will need the following:
- Monthly or Quarterly Statements from all Bank and Investment AccountsIf any credit card is set up to pay Trust expenses we need all monthly or quarterly statements.
- Check Registers for any bank accountsPlease make a notation in any check register to show the source of any deposit, or the purpose of any check written.
- Real Estate Transactions (loans, purchases, or sales)We need the closing statement for any Real Estate sale, purchase, or re-finance.
- Sale of Investments/SecuritiesThese will usually show on monthly statements from brokers. But you should also keep any notices of the sale of any securities (stocks, bonds, and mutual funds) or any other investments.
- Sale of Distribution of any other AssetWe need notes regarding: any sale of other assets, transfer of title to Beneficiaries, charitable contributions of any Estate assets, with supporting documentation if possible.
- Reimbursement to trustee or others for any administration expensesPlease keep receipts, or records of reimbursed mileage, as verification of any reimbursed amounts.
- Loan PaymentsWe will need to determine the amount of interest on any loan payments made. We can create amortization schedules if we have the original loan contract, or there may be statements from the bank or other lender, which will show the amount of interest paid.