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

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 Answer

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 Caring.com.

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.