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Back You are here: Home Columns The Survivor’s Guide: Is there anything I can be liable for if I am Executor?

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The Survivor’s Guide: Is there anything I can be liable for if I am Executor?

Yes, an issue the Executor can be held personally liable is for not paying Taxes due for the Estate. An Executor can avoid personal liability for the taxes of a decedent by notifying the IRS of the fiduciary relationship, investigate the extent of the tax assessment, and apply for discharges from personal liability for the gift tax, income and Estate taxes of the decedent. In a recent Federal District Court case, the co-executors of a decedent's Estate were held to be personally liable for the decedent’s unpaid income taxes under the federal priority statute because they distributed assets of the Estate, rendering the Estate insolvent. The distribution of payments took place even though the Executor had actual knowledge of the decedent's liability for unpaid taxes. U.S. v. David A. Tyler and Louis J. Ruch, (DC PA 03/13/2012) 109 AFTR 2d ¶2012-583.  An Executor cannot exhaust Estate assets satisfying the claims of general lien holders in opposition of outstanding federal tax liabilities.  If an Estate with insufficient assets owes debts to multiple creditors, the Executor must analyze each claim to determine the priority of the Estate’s liabilities.  From the office of: Sharon A. Hatton Law Office P.C., 321 N. Front Street, Wilmington, NC  28401 Tel: 910-772-9455.  WillsUCan Trust.com.  Send questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .