Formal administration involves handling the entire process through the courts. After the short certificate, the executor or administrator needs to notify all possible beneficiaries. They will also need to notify all possible debtors by publishing notice in the local law reporter as well as a local newspaper of general circulation. The executor or administrator should also notify social security, employer(s), banks, insurance companies, retirement plans, etc. regarding the death of the decedent.

Within three months of the date of death, the executor or administrator should pay estimated taxes on the estate to get a discount. Taxes for the estate will depend on the size of the estate. It is best to underestimate and potentially have to supplement later on than to overpay and risk not being able to get that money back from the government. A federal estate identification number should be obtained. The executor or administrator needs to make sure the final individual tax return for the decedent is prepared and filed in addition to the inheritance tax return. An inventory of the estate should be filed with the court along with a detailed accounting of all expenses of the estate and a proposed distribution of the remainder of the estate to close it out. Distributions should generally not be made until approx. a year after notice to allow creditors to make any valid claims against the estate prior to disbursement.

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