Redding, California, Law Blog

Steps for an executor to open an estate bank account

On Behalf of | Sep 29, 2023 | probate

A bank account for the estate of a California resident who passed away promotes transparency as the executor, also known as the personal representative, settles an estate’s final affairs. The account keeps the income and expenses for the estate separate and produces a record of the executor’s financial actions. To open an estate account, you must obtain a death certificate from the location of death, federal taxpayer ID number and probate court documents recognizing you as the executor.

Death certificate and tax ID

Although you may expect to handle numerous administrative functions as you wrap up someone’s estate, the death record and tax ID are relatively easy to get. Normally, the funeral home that attended to the decedent will connect you with the state agency that issues death certificates.

As for the federal taxpayer ID, you will file IRS form SS-4. The agency will then issue a unique taxpayer ID that you will use when filing the estate’s final tax return.

Filing the will with probate court

Once you have the death certificate, you can approach the probate court that will oversee the estate. Along with the death certificate, you will present the last will and testament that names you as the executor or personal representative. The court then approves your role as the executor and issues letters testamentary, or letters of administration, showing the court’s recognition of your official role. Upon receiving the necessary credentials, you are now ready to open an estate account at the bank or credit union of your choice.

Duties of an executor

You will use the estate account to hold money from the estate so that you can pay the decedent’s final bills. Those expenses will likely include various taxes, utility bills and probate court fees.