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Correctly signing documents on behalf of an estate

As the executor of your loved one’s estate, you know that you will have to see the estate through the probate process. You may worry about certain aspects of completing the proceedings because you already know that probate can be difficult to complete. Though it can be a trying experience, you can gain useful information on the various activities you will have to do.

One simple element that may give you pause is how to sign documents on behalf of the estate. After all, you cannot sign your loved one’s name because he or she is no longer living and to do so could be considered fraud. Because you certainly do not want to put yourself in a situation where you could face negative repercussions, you will want to understand how to sign estate document correctly.

A simple answer

When it comes to signing documents on behalf of the estate, the manner in which you do so is relatively simple. Typically, you need to make it known that you are the executor of the estate and are not taking responsibility for the transaction yourself. You can do this by simply signing your name and putting your title of executor of the estate afterward. One example of an acceptable signature would be “Signed by Jane Doe, Executor of the Estate of John Doe, Deceased.”

Of course, many institutions may not simply take your word that you are the executor of the estate. As a result, you will likely need to provide proof that you have taken on this role. Typically, when the court approves an executor’s appointment, it provides letters testamentary, which indicate the executor’s power to act on behalf of the estate during probate. Providing a copy of this document should suffice.

Tax returns

When it comes to filing taxes on behalf of the decedent, you will need to follow the procedures set forth by the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS has specific instructions for filing these documents for a deceased individual, so understanding those filing and signing instructions is vital.

Because you do not want to cause any serious issues with an estate simply because you signed a document incorrectly, you may want to have a Massachusetts attorney go over any and all paperwork you file on behalf of the estate. Having legal assistance could lessen the likelihood of any unnecessary issues during probate.


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