MARK D. FREEMAN, ESQUIRE

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Be sure that your wishes are carried out

after you have departed this life.small logo

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. The bank is asking me for a short certificate. What do I do? When a bank or other institution askd you for a short certificate they are asking you to prove that you are the personal representative of the estate. A short certificate is issued by the Register of Wills after an estate is probated and an executor or adminstrator is appointed.

Q. Why won't the bank just give me the money? Banks and other financial institutions are required by state law not to distribute money from an account owned by a person who has died.

Q. How soon can beneficiaries expect to get distributions from an estate? The answer to this question is different in every case. However, many estates are settled about one year after the date of death after creditors and inheritance tax have been paid. In some cases preliminary distributions can be made before an estate is settled.

Q. Who serves as the executor of the estate? If there is a will and the will appoints an executor, that person serves. If the named executor cannot or does not want to serve and the will appoints a successor, then the successor serves. If there are no successors willing or able to serve, or if there is no will, there is a procedure prescribed by law to determine the executor, who is called the administrator rather than executor.

Q. What taxes must be paid when a person dies? Many estates will have to pay inheritance tax. Some distributions that result from a person's death are income taxable and if the estate is large enough the estate may also have to pay Federal Estate and Gift tax.

 

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The purpose of this site is to provide useful information about wills, estate planning and estate administration. It is not intended to provide legal advice.You should consult a competent estate planning and/or estate administration attorney before acting on any of the information contained on this site.