How do we handle paying deceased taxes on my mother's estate?

4 answers | Last updated: Nov 28, 2016
Hawaii asked...

How do we handle paying property taxes for my deceased mother? My mother died in August 2007 and I did a date of death appraisal on her estate. Two of us siblings are co-owners but we do not own the estate yet.  Do I need to do anything about deceased taxes? I have paid her real property taxes.

Expert Answers

Barbara Steinberg is the CEO and founder of BLS Eldercare Financial Solutions, which specializes in helping families pay for long-term care for their loved ones. A registered financial gerontologist, she speaks regularly on the topic of paying for long-term care and is a financial expert for

A personal representative of an estate is an executor (appointed by will), administrator (appointed by court), or anyone who is in charge of the decedent’s property. Since you are acting as your mother’s personal representative, you are responsible for filing her final income tax return and the estate tax return.

You may not have to file one or both of these, depending on her income and deductions and the size of the estate. You are also responsible for filing any returns that should have been filed in the past, but were not.

If you do need to file a final return, it is due April 15, 2008. When preparing a final tax return, you need to add "Deceased" after your mother's name on the form. You should also put the date of death on the top. You must sign the return as the personal representative. Don't forget that there may be state income and estate tax forms to file as well.

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

Sorry but couldn't find another way to respond,so forgive me. Both my parents are deceased of of 2003 & 2004.The city of phila tells you nothing,lawyers use double talk to explain things,then you find out from another city employee,the lawyer should've done this and that. I'm still getting things in my parents name from the city for them to fill out,although i sent in copies of their death certificates.I'm on my own,with no legal help,the 1 lawyer i got in the beginning ashored me he'd done everything and all paper work was done,but as i stated before you'll find from another city emplyee,they'll tell you somthing else you wasn't told,the city's treasure dept,even contacted me and i still have no idea what she ment but thats the best she could you'll never get the complete truth from no 1 person.I still need legal help with deceased parents issues,butcan't afford for another attorney/lawyer do do everything and find out he/she hasn't done all required paper work. so my advice is to hold everything comming in the mail unless you can afford better & truthful lawyers.Oh,the lawyer did offer some tiny advice,he said not to pay any of their bills,not 1,because if i do then the rest of the bill collectors will expect me to pay as well.

Granny2grandsons answered...

In my personal experience, it was not necessary to do a final estate tax return for my Mom - the size of her estate was not large enough to cause "final" returns to be done. However, the Court Appointed Administrator (my brother was Executor but unfortunately passed before Mom's estate was finalized) wasted $500 just because he wanted one done.

My husband was Mom's CPA for over 20+ years and even informed the Administrator! Then the Administrator wanted to do 1099's or K-1's - totally unnecessary - he had no idea what he was doing! He wouldn't even allow my husband to do my Mother's Final Tax Returns at no charge (as he always did for Mom)! He hired another accountant (don't know if he was a CPA or not) but we didn't get a chance to even look at Mom's Final Tax Returns! He even had the nerve to tell me "he didn't have to be accountable". He will be!!

The best advice I could give you if you do not have or know of a CPA, call the Department of Revenue of your state. Ask for the "details in closing an Estate", ask if they have a "checklist", and finally, ask what the "qualifications" of the size of the estate and if it is necessary to file "final" state/city tax returns for the estate.

It sounds like with you or your sibling still have yet to get the "legal rights" - hung up in Probate Court? Or is there another sibling questioning the Will? Either way, remember the funeral home notified Social Security of your Mother's passing in August 2007. My Mom passed in May 2005 and I'm still in Court! I'm like you, there are too many "attorneys with their own agenda's and can't get any straight answers out of any of them" regardless of my Mother's Will!

Property tax is different issue. Regardless of whose name the estate is in - there will always be property tax to be paid. Once you and your sibling finally are awarded the estate, immediately get the name change done - you will need a death certificate, the Court Order giving the names the Estate is in, and probably more forms (call the State Treasurer for property tax). Perhaps you can get the forms sent to you in order to get things prepared so you are ready to take action when the time comes!

Hope that helps. Sending hugs & prayers - I know how difficult it is to deal with this for such a long time. Like I said, my Mother passed in May 2005 and I'm still having to deal with it!

Granny2grandsons answered...

Dear Anonymous community member,

Did you have a contract with the one attorney who assured you all was done properly? Do you have any copies of what was done?

One thing you can do is report the attorney to the State Bar Association and let them know of the problems you are still encountering due to the neglegence of the attorney! Just give a call to your State Bar Association and inquire about "Complaint Against Attorney" forms. Fill it out, copy what you have and send it in. They will force the attorney to respond as to what action was done and if it was done properly! It won't cost you a thing!

Hang in there and good luck! Hope it helps!

Sending hugs & prayers!!!!!