Employer Fundamentals: Understanding Employment Law
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Employer Fundamentals: Understanding Employment Law

As a business owner, keeping informed about the finer points of employment law is important. If you're getting ready to hire your first employees, you need to be sure that you understand exactly what you can and cannot do. Don't risk getting yourself into legal trouble by asking the wrong question at the interview or making an off-hand comment that's considered legally unacceptable. I created this site to give you the basics of employment law expectations. I hope that the information here helps you to understand what you should and shouldn't do as you're interviewing and hiring your first staff members.


Employer Fundamentals: Understanding Employment Law

Estate Planning: 5 Mistakes To Avoid When You're The Personal Representative

Irene Robertson

You've been chosen to be the personal representative for your parent's estate. Being a personal representative comes with a lot of responsibility. You must make sure that you comply with the laws and rules governing estate handling. To prevent future problems, here are four mistakes that you should avoid.

Failure to Get an Adequate Number of Certified Death Certificates

You might think that you're only going to need one certified death certificate. Unfortunately, that's incorrect. You're going to need several certified death certificates. While some places will accept copies of the death certificate, most will require the actual certificate. Here are three places that will require certified death certificates.

  • Life Insurance companies
  • Social Security Administration
  • Probate court

Failure to Identify Important Mail

Your parents will continue to receive mail after they've passed away. Don't simply toss that mail into the trash can before you've sorted through it. Insurance policies, legal notices, and medical bills may be in the mail you're throwing away. You'll need those documents to properly dispose of your parent's estate.

Failure to File Your Parent's Taxes

Even after a person passes away, the final year's income taxes must be filed. It also important to determine if the previous year's taxes were filed properly. The IRS has special forms that must be used when filing taxes for someone who has passed away. Filing your parent's taxes will identify whether they had a tax bill left owing, or a refund of taxes paid that will come to the estate.

Failure to Contact Social Security Administration

If your parents received monthly social security checks, you'll need to notify the social security administration in a timely manner. Failure to notify them may leave the estate responsible for repaying any overpayment your parents may receive. It's also important for you to contact the Social Security Administration because there is usually a small death benefit that's paid to the estate after someone passes away. Before you cash any checks that you receive from the Social Security Administration, you should call and make sure that your parents didn't owe any money to the federal government. If they did, you'll be required to return the check.

Failure to Identify Safety Deposit Boxes

If your parents had bank accounts, it's possible that they also had at least one safety deposit box. Most banks provide safety deposit boxes to their customers. Be sure to make a list of each bank account your parents had. Make an inquiry at each bank to determine if your parents had safety deposit boxes. Those safety deposit boxes could contain information that you'll need when representing their estate.

Being the personal representative over an estate is a big responsibility. Use the information provided above to help avoid making costly mistakes. 

For an estate planning attorney, contact a lawyer such as Jolein A. Harro, P.C.