Experienced Michigan Attorneys
Toll Free

Properly Filing Tax Returns in Estate Administration

Getting Information From the IRS Timely is Important

The estate of a deceased person (decedent) becomes a new taxpayer for purposes of state and federal income taxes. The estate must obtain a separate Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. The new EIN will be used to file the decedent's final tax return, and it must be attached to all accounts in the name of the estate.

The personal representative (PR) of the estate must file all individual tax returns for the decedent along with all tax returns for the estate. It is critical that the PR begins this process early and is mindful of due dates.

  • City, Michigan and federal income and intangibles tax returns are due on April 15 in the calendar year following the decedent's death.
  • Gift tax returns are due on April 15 in the calendar year following the decedent's death or on the same date of the estate tax return, whichever is earlier.
  • Federal estate tax returns (transfer tax returns) are due 9 months after the date of death. A 6-month extension may be requested prior to the due date, but the estimated correct amount of tax must still be paid before the due date.
  • Federal generation skipping transfer tax returns are due 9 months after the date of death.

The federal estate tax exclusion amount as of 2016 is $5.45 million, which means that if the combined gross assets and prior taxable gifts do not exceed this amount, the filing of a federal estate tax return is not required.

Deductions allowed from the gross estate to arrive at the value of the taxable estate include mortgages, debts, estate administration expenses, property passing to a surviving spouse and qualified charities. Additionally, the values of farms may be reduced in some cases to qualify for estate tax exemption.

If you are the PR of the estate, filing tax returns and paying taxes in a timely manner is crucial. Failure to do so may subject you to personal liabilities, including interest, penalties and the full amount of tax payments.

Speak With One of Our Attorneys About Your Specific Concerns

At Willis Law, we help people across Western Michigan manage tax obligations during the estate administration process, and our lawyers often act as personal representatives for our clients.

Please call us at (888) 461-7744 or email us to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our lawyers in Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids or Paw Paw. We look forward to speaking with you and helping you meet obligations efficiently.

Hear It From Our Clients 

The Opinions That Matter 
  • “Very professional and knowledgeable. Great to work with. Would highly recommend.”

    - Frank S.
  • “We’ve needed legal services in the past and had a great experience. The staff is kind and professional. Michael was a huge help with our trust – it’s a great deal of information and he was patient and ...”

    - Anonymous
  • “Thanks for excellent, professional service!”

    - Anonymous
  • “As first-time clients, we were treated great. All of our questions were answered, and we would definitely refer friends and return for other services.”

    - Brett & Julie B.
  • “The efficiency of the Willis staff and the kindness and respect shown by Mariko and her colleagues (Patty & everyone really) was exceptional - Thank you!”

    - Anonymous

Choosing the Right Firm Makes 
a Difference


    We are considerate to exemplify good work ethics. Our lawyers strive to actively participate and engage in your feelings or ideas.


    Willis Law adheres to a code of moral and ethical standards, is truthful in all things, and takes responsibility for our actions.


    We demonstrate compassion and consideration for others, putting your needs or desires ahead of our own to treat you the way you appreciate being treated.


    Sons of a former chief judge, Frank Willis.

Place Your Legal Concerns 
Into Our Capable Hands

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.