Taxes and the Executor's Duties

The executor is responsible for paying taxes owed out of the estate.

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The executor of an estate is responsible for making sure taxes, whether they're imposed on the deceased person, the estate, or the inheritors, get paid. That means you may be filing income tax returns, estate tax returns, and inheritance tax returns. The good news is that you probably won't have to deal with all of these. Very few estates, for example, owe federal estate tax, and only a few states have an inheritance tax.

Still, you can't distribute assets or close a probate court proceeding until all the taxes are paid. More good news: you don't have to use your own assets to pay the taxes; instead, you use funds in the estate. And you can get help (also paid for with estate funds) with tax preparation. This section explains your responsibilities.

Serving as Executor? Nolo Can Help.

Find a local lawyer for advice or handle the estate yourself with nolo's award winning do-it-yourself legal books.

The Executor's Guide

The Executor's Guide

Settle an estate or trust with this all-in-one guide for executors. The Executor's Guide will help you make progress one step at a time through the unfamiliar land of legal procedures and terminology.


The Trustee's Legal Companion

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Learn the ins and outs of being a trustee with this guide for every trust administrator. The Trustee’s Legal Companion shows you exactly how to proceed within the terms of the trust and your state's law.


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