This page contains a sample letter for distributing assets in an estate to the heirs, beneficiaries or devisees. If you are the executor, personal representative or administrator of a deceased person's estate, you may need to send this type of letter when you are ready to settle the estate.
Steps to Complete Before Sending Estate Distribution Letter
1. Consult a probate lawyer about the steps required to settle the decedent's estate before sending this letter, such as providing an accounting, petitioning for or obtaining a court order or approval to close the estate, etc. Some state laws provide that an executor or personal representative may send a distribution proposal to persons with certain rights regarding the estate and that such persons may have a specified time period to object to the proposal for distribution.An estate distribution letter should be drafted by an attorney. Before sending this form letter or any correspondence to an heir, beneficiary, devisee, creditor or other party with a potential claim against the estate, have it and any documents you plan to enclose with the Estate Distribution Letter reviewed by a lawyer to ensure you have complied with your fiduciary duties and statutory requirements.2. Make photocopies and digital records of the Estate Distribution Letter and all documents to be sent with the correspondence.3. A distribution letter should not be sent until final expenses of the estate have been paid, such as last illness expenses, funeral and burial expenses, estate taxes, and
creditor claims.4. Either before or simultaneously with sending the Estate Distribution Letter, the executor or personal representative may be required to file an accounting with the probate court or provide an accounting to the heirs and beneficiaries or others with an interest in decedent's estate.5. An executor or personal representative may be required by the probate court to certify, prove or verify that a distribution was made. Therefore, you may need to have heirs, beneficiaries, and other recipients sign a receipt that includes a description of the property and cash received. Also, it may be prudent to obtain receipts of distribution even in situations when it is not required by a court.6. If undischarged claims against the estate exist at the time the Estate Distribution Letter will be sent, include a statement in the letter regarding how potential liabilities against the distributions will be handled.
Estate Distribution Letter Form
REGISTERED MAILMonth, Day, Year Full Name of Recipient Street Address City, State, and Zip CodeTO THE HEIRS OF Insert Decedent's Name:
I am or We are making a final distribution to the heirs at this time of the sum of insert dollar amount. A check payable to you for your proportionate share of the estate is enclosed. The assets of the estate have been distributed to the persons entitled to receive them.A copy of the Inventory and Final Accounting for the above-referenced estate is also enclosed.Taxes on distributions are the responsibility of insert applicable information.If you have any questions regarding the distribution or enclosures, please contact me at insert telephone number of executor or personal representative.Sincerely, Insert full name of Executor or Personal Representative Insert mailing address of Executor or Personal Representative unless included elsewhere on letterheadEnclosuresCopyright 2017 Pennyborn.com.
Documents To Include With Estate Distribution Letter
The following is a list of documents that are sometimes included with a letter distributing assets of a deceased person's estate:1. Interim or Final Accounting containing a report from the executor or personal representative of receipts and disbursements for the decedent's estate for a specified period of time.2. Inventory of Estate containing a complete list, schedule or report of all property owned by the deceased at the time of death, the value of such property, and any mortgages, liens or encumbrances thereon.3. Schedule of Distribution containing a description of property distributed to each heir or other recipient, the value or amount of such property, the name and address of each heir or other recipient, the percentage, proportion, parts or fractional share of the estate for each heir or other recipient, and the date of distribution.4. Inheritance Tax Worksheet. If state inheritance tax is applicable, the executor or personal representative may need to provide an inheritance tax worksheet.The documents that should be enclosed with an Estate Distribution Letter vary depending on several factors, including:a. What type of estate is being administered;b. Whether the estate is subject to formal probate or is being settled as a small estate; See Probate of Small Estates
c. Whether an accounting is required or has been waived;d. The form of the distribution, such as check, deed, property transfer, tangible personal property, etc.;e. What types of state and federal taxes apply; See Inheritance Taxesf. The requirements of applicable state laws; andg. Recommendations of your attorney and accountant.Because every estate is unique and probate laws vary from state to state, consult a licensed attorney for a list of documents to include with your Estate Distribution Letter. Also, executors and personal representatives should make sure they do not fail to disclose pertinent information related to estate distributions, expenditures made from the estate, and administration of decedent's estate.
Forms for Executors and Personal Representatives of an Estate
Before closing the estate, take a minute to review our executor checklist for duties you may have failed to perform during the estate administration process. To view the free checklist, go to Executors Estate Forms.The Pennyborn.com Estate Distribution Letter Form was published on September 8, 2017.