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Filing status

Shorebird
Level 3

I filed 2010 for this client as MFS since he was estranged and not living with his spouse.

In 2011, 2012, and 2013 he filed as Single

I was contacted by a lawyer and asked if I could file his Estate tax returns as he had passed away in September 2014.  Was handed 50 pages of accounting and conservator documents to work with.

His Death Certificate lists him as Single.  However, in the documents I was given it shows that the Divorce request was only filed 2 weeks prior to his death in September 2014.

How do I file the final 1040?  The rules say to use the status at the time of his death, which would be MFS.  However, the Death Certificate is a legal documents (even if wrong).

Has anyone had to deal with something similar and advise me?

 

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1 Solution

Accepted Solutions
BobKamman
Level 14

The death certificate is only as accurate as the person who provided the information.  The divorce would not have been completed if he died two weeks after he filed.  There are implications to the estate tax, based on his marital status.  Even if the wife was not named as beneficiary, she is probably entitled to a distribution under state law, and it would be deductible if he was married.  

When in doubt, tell the truth.  MFS isn't going to cost him anything anyway; he's dead.  

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4 Replies 4

I would file his filing status: Single

Because the end of the tax year 2014 he is legally unmarried (divorced)

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Shorebird
Level 3

No, that is not correct.  

His filing status is on the date of his death, not at the end of the tax year, as in other instances.

And also, we do not know if Divorce was finalized by December 31.

But, thank you for responding.

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BobKamman
Level 14

The death certificate is only as accurate as the person who provided the information.  The divorce would not have been completed if he died two weeks after he filed.  There are implications to the estate tax, based on his marital status.  Even if the wife was not named as beneficiary, she is probably entitled to a distribution under state law, and it would be deductible if he was married.  

When in doubt, tell the truth.  MFS isn't going to cost him anything anyway; he's dead.  

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Shorebird
Level 3

You are right.

Thank you so much for confirming my thoughts.

 

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