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Estate administration: Filing a loved one's taxes after death

We have all heard the joke that only two things in life are certain: death and taxes. Unfortunately, this is not too far from the truth in many respects; and, even after an Oklahoma resident dies, there will be a number of tax issues to take care of during the estate administration process. In this article, we will discuss the filing and preparation of your deceased loved one's IRS 1040 form.

After an Oklahoma resident passes away, the estate administrator in charge of his or her estate will be required to file the decedent's final 1040 with the IRS. This last 1040 will include tax information from the first of the previous year until the day that your loved one passed. The same tax deadlines that apply to all tax filers will apply to this 1040. In other words, the deadline will be April 15 in the year that follows your loved one's death.

1040s for unmarried individuals are filed as a single tax filer. For individuals who were married, the 1040 form can be filed jointly or separately as per the choice of the person's widow or widower. Discussing the matter with a lawyer, accountant or CPA can help an individual's spouse decide the matter of filing jointly or separately.

Another important element of filing a decedent's taxes involves medical expenses. The estate administrator will need to decide how to handle medical expenses that were not covered by insurance and not paid by the decedent prior to his or her death. Medical expenses that were paid before the decedent passed are valid deductions, and so are medical expenses that were not paid before the person died, if they do not represent more than 7 percent of the person's adjusted income. If the person died before he or she turned the age of 65, the number goes up to 10 percent.

It is always best to evaluate all elements of an Oklahoma decedent's financial situation when filing his or her final 1040. Indeed, it is not uncommon to make an unintended mistake during the estate administration process that triggers an IRS audit later on down the road. Also, a well-filed 1040 may be able to limit some tax liabilities -- a benefit that will be passed down to the decedent's heirs.

Source:, "4 tax issues to consider when you close an estate", Bill Bischoff, Feb. 17, 2015

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