There can be much uncertainty with the legal aspects of a passing family member who dies intestate. When no clear direction exists from the actual decedent, the estate is processed according to state law. The first issue of the decedent’s financial status will be the outstanding tax debt that the court will want to ensure is paid first and foremost when the case is finally brought to court. Families often worry that they will be held liable for the debts, but the truth is that this is rarely the situation for most families. The only individual who can be held accountable for paying the decedent tax debt is an executor, and then only if they have paid the outstanding creditor claims before paying any tax liabilities. And, even this liability can be complicated. That is why it is important to consult with experienced Menomonee Falls estate lawyers like McLario Helm Bertling & Spiegel S.C. when there could be a question of extended tax liability.
When a Family Member May Be Liable for Taxes
There are exceptions to the rule of no extended tax liability for a family following a death. Most of those exceptions apply to an assigned executor who is instructed to pay tax obligations before any other creditors. There must be evidence that they were aware of the tax bill, and they instead paid heirs or creditors first before tax priorities were covered. In the event the priorities are not followed, the court can hold the executor liable. In addition, taxes that apply to property owned by surviving family members are still due for those parties in full if the estate is insolvent. Solvent estates can be required to pay the proportional tax debt of the decedent in most situations unless the surviving co-owner assumes the total tax burden.
When outstanding taxes are an issue with an estate, it is always best to retain an estate attorney for proper dissolution. Wisconsin residents should contact the Menomonee Falls estate lawyers at McLario Helm Bertling & Spiegel S.C. for effective representation and outcome.