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Category: Tax


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Complete Tax

John A. Cochran, Esq. offers personalized accurate business and individual tax accounting. As not only and attorney but also a CPA my firm can offer  full range of professional accounting services:

    • Federal, state and local
    • Partnership and corporation
    • Nonprofit formation
    • Estate, gift and trust tax
    • Business consulting and tax planning
    • Business valuation
    • Buying and selling your business
    • Financial statements
    • Government audits
    • Offer and compromise agreements
    • Installment agreements
    • Payroll and bookkeeping
  • Personalized tax debt solutions

Contact My Office

To schedule a consultation call John A. Cochran, Esquire, in Greensburg at (724) 216-5180

Estate Administration

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Estate Planning and Administration

When a person dies, all of his or her possessions – real estate, money, stocks, personal belongings, etc. – become a part of his or her estate. Estate administration refers to the process of collecting and managing the estate, paying any debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining property to the heirs of the estate. The heirs of an estate are determined by will, and if there isn’t a will, by the intestacy (which means dying without a will) laws of each state. FindLaw’s section on Estate Administration Basics provides information on how to administer an estate, what being an executor means, and what happens to a person’s debts after his or her death.

What Is the Process for Administering an Estate?

Put simply, estate administration is collecting, managing, and distributing a deceased person’s estate. Each state has its own probate laws, which govern the requirements and process for administering an estate. In some cases, an estate may need to be administered in more than one state. Generally, the state in which the person lived in at the time of death is where the estate goes through probate. However, real estate is governed by state law, so real estate in another state might have to be probated in that state. Several states have adopted a version of the Uniform Probate Code, which is designed to simplify the estate administration process and provide similarity among probate laws from state to state.

The Duties of an Executor

The executor is responsible for locating and collecting all of the deceased’s property, making sure any debts and taxes are paid off, and distributing the remaining property and money to the entitled parties. Although anyone can be an executor, the executor must perform with diligence and in good faith. Usually the executor is designated in a will. If the deceased didn’t leave a will, an administrator is appointed by the probate court. If the probate process is complicated, the executor is entitled to hire an attorney – at the expense of the estate – to help him or her with the process. While the executor is not entitled to any proceeds from the sale of property of the estate, generally he or she is entitled to a fee as compensation for administering the estate.

Who Is Responsible for a Deceased Person’s Debts?

Generally speaking, once a person dies, his or her debts are paid off from his or her estate, and if there isn’t enough money to repay the debt, the debt dies with the person. Relatives or beneficiaries of the will are usually not responsible to pay the deceased person’s debts. However, if the relative or beneficiary owned part of the debt or received substantial benefits from the debt, he or she would be responsible for repaying the debt. For example, credit card debt belongs to the account holder. If, however, a relative co-signed on a loan or the credit card was from a joint account, the co-signor or other account holder would have to pay the debt. It’s important to note that in community property states – where property acquired during marriage is considered jointly owned – the surviving spouse may be liable for the debt.

Hiring an Attorney

If you’re in charge of administering an estate and have questions about it, you may want consult with an estate planning attorney. It would also be a good idea to contact an estate planning attorney if you have questions or concerns regarding the debt left by a person who has passed away.

Contact My Office

To schedule a consultation call John A. Cochran, Esquire, in Greensburg at (724) 216-5180

Collection of Tax Debt

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Defending You From Collections Of Tax Debt

If you have missed paying federal income tax or have been delinquent in some amount of income tax, you will likely receive a notice from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) notifying you of that delinquency and the compound interest that accrues daily and any other penalties that apply.

Because of the interest charge, it is often a good idea to pay the amount immediately and dispute that the calculation was in error or inaccurate. If you find yourself in this circumstance, you may want to give me a call first at (724) 216-5180.

I’m John A. Cochran, and I’m an experienced tax attorney and a CPA. I can help determine if the notice is accurate and how you can resolve the issue, or if the IRS is mistaken, I can help develop the evidence to prove your claim.

Tax Debt Collection

The IRS is responsible for collecting a staggering amount of taxes. They are efficient, and they can be ruthlessly methodical when they believe a taxpayer has made an underpayment of their tax obligation.

To avoid the most draconian collection methods, I can help you determine which form of payment will work best in your circumstance.

    • Installment agreement: An installment agreement allows you to pay your tax debt in monthly installments. There may be a setup fee with this method, and interest and penalties continue to accrue.
    • Offer in Compromise (OIC): When your taxes are too great, and you cannot reasonably pay them, you may be able to negotiate an Offer in Compromise for a lesser amount. I can help you with this negotiation.
    • Notice of Federal Tax Lien: This lien is automatically created when the IRS notifies you of your tax delinquency. You want to avoid the Notice of Federal Tax Lien, as that creates a public record of the lien and can impair your ability to obtain credit.
  • Notice of Levy: This is very bad. The IRS has broad authority to seize virtually all of your assets, including wages, bank and financial accounts, Social Security benefits, retirement income and real estate and personal property. You do not want this to happen.

Don’t Let This Happen To You

Never ignore mail from the IRS notifying you of delinquent taxes. Whether they are in error or you need to make up tax payments, I can help you with this process. I can communicate with the IRS on your behalf and prevent the situation from becoming a crisis for your personal or business finances.

Contact My Office

To schedule a consultation call John A. Cochran, Esquire, in Greensburg at (724) 216-5180