Being an executor of a Will requires much more than merely disposing of the deceased’s possessions according to the terms of the Will. One of the things that many people do not think about when they agree to be an Executor are the tax returns that need to be filed. Recently, SmartMoney published a very helpful and quick list for Executors that bears repeating.
Executors need to file the deceased’s final 1040 income tax return. This return covers the time period from the date of the person’s death back to January 1st of the tax year. It is due at the normal tax filing date. If the deceased failed to file tax returns in previous years, which is often the case for the elderly, then those prior years’ returns need to be filed as well.
Executors might also need to file income tax returns for the estate. If the estate contains any holdings that earn money, such as interest, then income tax returns need to be filed and any tax due needs to be paid.
Of course, Executors also need to file estate tax returns. Sometimes an estate tax return is filed even if an estate tax is not owed. This return should be filed within nine months of death.
There may be other miscellaneous tax returns that an Executor needs to file. But, those three are the big ones that most people need to worry about. If you need help, Executors can hire attorneys to assist them.