Since the dawning of mankind… one generation has passed on property and assets to children, family members and friends. While the rules and procedures for settling inheritance property do vary by national citizenship and state law (depending on the residence of the decedent) there are some common procedures and practices in transferring inheritance property.
One common question during the inheritance distribution process is “Is there tax on inheritance assets”? While this may seem like a simple question the answer is not so cut and dry.
The legal residence of the decedent will determine the jurisdiction of the country, state and county that will oversee the legal process of estate administration and determine the estate tax due upon their death. Also, a determining factor regarding estate tax liabilities is whether there is a surviving spouse. In the U.S under most circumstances a surviving spouse has an unlimited marital (tax) deduction. These mean that the asset of the decedent’s estate may pass to the spouse with no taxes due. (contact a tax expert regarding your specific circumstances).
Is there a will?
When a U.S. citizen dies without a will, the transfer and division of estate property follow the intestacy law and procedures of that state. The administration of intestacy proceedings is done at local county probate offices. Under the intestacy process the succession of property a recipient is referred to as an heir.
Settling an Estate through a Last Will and Testament
A valid last will and testament determines the distribution of assets upon a person’s death. A person who is a family member may or may not be a beneficiary of a will. The choice is that of the decedent.
Probate is the legal process of proving the validity of a Last Will and Testament. There are many reasons why a will may be found invalid. The county probate office and local probate judge are the authorities is determine the validity of the will and supervising the process of probate. Interested parties can also contest the validity of a will on a variety of contestable issues. For more information on the process of contesting a Last Will and Testament, contact an estate litigation attorney.