The Caton Law Firm PLLC
206 S. Tennessee, PO Box 387 McKinney, TX 75070 - Phone.972.562.0777 - Fax.972.562.0780










Current Events and General Client Memos

INFORMATION NEEDED for AN ESTATE SETTLEMENT
with AN ESTATE TAX RETURN

Below is a list of the information we will need to complete the Estate Tax Return (Form 706) and/or Probate Inventory. Include all assets, whether owned outright or in a living trust. If the decedent was married, include all assets registered in the name of a surviving spouse as well, and identify for me which ones you believe to be the separate property of either spouse. Often accounts in one name only are still community property, or include income which is community property.

The Death Certificate.

Real Estate. For each tract of real estate, provide:

  1. A document showing title and the "legal description" (the full lot and block or surveyor's description) such as on the deed or title policy. If you inherited the property, estate documentation may be substituted.
  2. Property tax appraisals and any other appraisals done for each parcel of real estate.

Securities. Two statements from each brokerage firm that show all stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other securities held on date of death. Provide the statement that immediately preceded date of death, and the one that immediately followed. In addition, ask each broker to prepare and deliver to you a list of the securities that includes:

  1. The exact number of shares held on date of death.
  2. The CUSIP number.
  3. The date of death values for each security in the account on date of death. This is not the close price for stocks—it is:
  4. The average of the high and low price on the date of death, if the market was open on that date, or
  5. The average of the highs and lows for the trading days immediately before and after the date of death if the market was not open on that date.
  6. The cash balance in the account on the date of death.
  7. Accrued interest on the cash portion as of the date of death.
    We have forms to assist the broker in collecting this information, if needed.

Bank Accounts. Two statements (immediately before and after date of death) for each bank account, including money markets and CDs. Ask the bank to provide a statement as to the date of death value of each account, including a separate entry showing the accrued and unpaid interest as of the date of death.

Account Documentation. Copies of the signature cards and beneficiary designations on each bank, brokerage and retirement account.

Notes. The principal balance of each note owed to Decedent on date of death; a copy of any amortization schedule, plus the amount of accrued and unpaid interest as of the date of death; and confirmation that all payments were current (per the amortizations provided), or information as to any past due payments.

Life Insurance. Check with us before applying for payment of life insurance proceeds. Once proceeds are paid, request Form 712 for each life insurance policy on the Decedent or the Decedent's spouse on the date of death. Each company will send you the completed form when you ask for it. Yes – they can give you a 712 on a policy on the survivor as well.

Personal Effects. An estimate of the value of household furnishings and personal items owned by Decedent, with a breakdown into general categories. You do not need to itemize each item with in the category.

Autos. Copies of titles to any automobiles or vehicles, and an estimate of their values.

Other Receivables. An itemized list of any rents or other receivables that were due to the Decedent as of the date of death.

Business Interests. An estimated value of any closely held corporate, partnership or other business interest owned by Decedent on date of death, together with current financial statements, last tax returns, and statement of ownership interest. If other owners were involved, list their names, addresses and ownership interests.

Will. Original Last Will.

Trusts. Copies of any Trusts, together with all amendments, of which the Decedent or spouse was a trustor, trustee or beneficiary at the time of death.

Employment Benefits. A statement from Decedent's employer as to the final paycheck and other employee benefits due as of the date of death.

Minerals. Leases and division orders on any mineral interests, whether or not the surface was also owned, together with a copy of the deed or will granting the interest to the Decedent. If a royalty interest is owned, rather than a mineral interest, include the document that granted or reserved the royalty right.

Tax Returns. A copy of the last three individual income tax returns. A copy of each gift tax return filed by Decedent, and a list of gifts made (other than nominal gifts for Christmas and birthdays) in the year of death or the three years prior.

Administration Expenses. Documentation of all expenses relating to Decedent's last illness, funeral, payments to clergy for performing any ceremonies, and payment of any administrative expenses including appraisal fees and CPA expense. We will include fees that you pay to us. These are deductions on the Estate Tax Return.

Debts. A list of all debts outstanding on date of death. This should include mortgages, if any; the debt, if any, on cars; any outstanding credit card balances or money owed to anyone else, tax liabilities owing at Decedent's death, etc. Be sure to include the future tax liability on any Roth IRA conversions. Also please indicate whether any of these debts were the separate property debt of either spouse. Unless you indicate otherwise, I will assume they were community debts. These items are also deductions on the Estate Tax Return.

Please forward this information to us as soon as possible.