Probate 102 – Marshalling of Assets and Payment of Liabilities

Once the courts grant the Executor letters testamentary, it is time to marshal the assets and pay the liabilities of the estate.  Miller & Miller Law Group PLLC can provide valuable advice and help with this process. Marshalling the assets involve first locating the assets of the decedent. The assets that are to be marshaled are any accounts and property that did not have a beneficiary attached.  Below are some of the steps an Executor may need to take to fulfill their duties as Executor:  

  • Get EIN number- This number will be associated with the estate account for tax purposes. 
  • Set up Estate Account- The Executor will need to create an Estate Account. The account will be titled the Estate of the decedent.
  • Transfer Property to Estate Account- Once the estate account is set up, the Executor will transfer any property that was in decedents name alone (no beneficiary designation listed on the account) to the estate account.  
  • Appraisals of Property- An Executor may need to have appraisals done for businesses, real property, artwork, or anything that may have value.
  • Apply for a Release of Lien from New York State- In order to sell real property from the estate of the deceased New York must release the lien it imposes on the property.   
  • Selling or Transferring Real Property or Cooperatives- An Executor may need to sell real property or a cooperative located in the estate. They also may need to deed over property to the beneficiaries listed in the Will. 
  • Pay liabilities and reimburse parties for expenses expended– The Executor must make sure that claims are legitimate 
  • Income Tax– Hire an accountant to file an income tax return for any years that have not been paid.
  • Estate Tax– Estate Taxes may need to be filed for New York State and Federally.  Estate taxes are due 9 months from decedent’s date of death.
  • Wait for Creditors–   Creditors have 7 months from the issuance of letters testamentary to come forward with any claims they have against the estate.
  • Keep a Detailed Accounting– Records of all the assets that have been marshaled and expended on behalf of the estate must be accounted for.

Being an Executor is no easy task. It can be very difficult to find where a decedent had their assets. Also, deciding whether to sell an asset or transfer at value is another difficult decision an Executor may need to make.  The most important step of being an Executor is keeping detailed records. Every penny that was brought into the Estate should be accounted for.   

Many Executors make critical mistakes in this phase of the probate process. Miller & Miller Law Group, PLLC is here to help make sure that the Executor is protected and fulfilling their duty to the beneficiaries listed in the will. To speak with an experienced Probate Lawyer feel free to give us a call at (718) 875-2191 or request a consultation. Visit our page on Probate 103 to learn about distribution according to the last will and testament.

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