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By: Scott Grossman on November 10th, 2018

Why you need an EIN for the probate estate

Hi, you’re going to learn today why you need an employer identification number for the probate estate. Now employer identification number is a bit of a mouthful so I’m going to abbreviate it by calling it an EIN.

An EIN is issued by the Internal Revenue Service. I’m telling you what I tell every client I have ever had who asked to do probate once you have gotten your letters, get yourself an accountant.

I don’t care who your accountant is use anybody that you want but get an accountant because it’s not your personal expense, it’s an expense of the estate and even simple probate estates may have some amount of tax work that needs to be done. So rather than waiting for the end when you have to file taxes work to find out if you have to file taxes get somebody at the beginning. The accountant is going to simplify your life and you can tell your accountant “I’ve now gotten my letters in probate I need an EIN the accountant will help you to fill it out”, they will submit it for you they’ll get you the EIN no muss no fuss. It should be easy for you to do.

The reason you need an EIN is that you are going to have to and I want to emphasize this you have to open an account in the name of the probate estate.

If you’re selling real estate and you’re going to get cash from the sale if you’ve got an existing bank account or accounts if there are stocks bonds mutual funds all the things that are typically in a state. If any of this is ever going to be turned into cash and 99.99% of the time that does happen you will need a bank account that says John Smith executor of the estate of Doris Smith. In other words, you’ve got to have an account in the name of the estate.

There is not a bank in America that will open up the account in the estate’s name if you cannot provide them with a certified copy of your letters and EIN.

They are absolutely mandatory now for the very few of you who are not going to follow my advice I’ll tell you how to do it yourself and then when you do it and you find out how much fun it is to deal with the IRS hopefully you’ll reconsider and get an accountant. For the rest of the probate process to get an EIN you have to fill out form SS-4  now you can do that online at the IRS’ website, you can download the form fill it out, and then fax it in. I believe there’s even an option to do it by old snail mail if you want to but you will have to submit this in order to get the EIN to understand you do not want to wait you do not want to be closing on the sale of the house that’s in the estate to have the escrow company asked you for an EIN that you cannot provide so once your letters are issued one of the very first things you should be doing is getting that EIN.

If you need to do probate or have questions about completing probate, do not hesitate to contact our office today!