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Do I have to open an estate if we owned everything jointly and the deed to the house is only in my name? can I file taxes jointly for 2016?

1 Answers. Asked on Feb 09th, 2017 on Estate Planning - Maryland
More details to this question:
My husband died November 12, 2016 and he had no assets. We file jointly for taxes each year. Can I file as usual or do I have to file separately for him and use that for his estate?
Answers Showing 1 out of 1
Ms. Maryellen Sullivan, Esq. at Law Office of Mark Standen, LLC
Licenced in ME
Answered on Feb 10th, 2017 at 5:14 AM

I'm sorry for your loss.

You can file a joint return for 2016.  If his estate doesn't have assets, I'm guessing that the estate will not earn any income (such as interest, dividends, etc.) so you will not have to file an estate income tax return at all.  

You do not have to open an estate if he had no assets.  If he had a Will, it would be prudent to file it with the court with no other action requested, as a safeguard if any assets appear in the future.  

Owning everything jointly makes estate administration simpler for a surviving spouse.  With all of the complications that death can bring, this is one bit of good news.

 

 

 

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Estate Planning
It's a common misconception that estate planning is only appropriate for the elderly and those who have amassed a significant amount of wealth. Not true. All adults who are mentally capable should have an estate plan, which can include a last will and testament, trusts and/or advance directive such as a healthcare power of attorney and living will. An estate planning lawyer can work with you and your spouse to assess your estate planning needs, create the documents which form the foundation of your plans and then update those documents as necessary. Estate planning law firms can also work with clients who have special needs and concerns, including those dealing with a chronic or terminal illness, the parents of disabled children and parents who want to protect certain assets for their children from a prior marriage.
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