Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
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If your father had a debt that was owing to the IRS, then any property that was in his name upon his death is liable for the outstanding amount. The purpose of probate (one of the purposes) is to satisfy any creditor claims from the estate's assets, and also to severe any such claims if proper notice is given during the probate process, and the creditor fails to make a timely claim. Since there was no probate, this would not be applicable. If interest was paid to your father post-death, taxes would be owing on this. Generally the executor or the personal representative files a final tax return on behalf of the decedent. This enables the estate to determine any tax liability and pay it off with the assets of the estate. Since that was not done, either the relevant tax documents need to be filed by a person willing to assume the responsibilities of a personal representative, or the heirs would have to assume that the IRS's determination of back taxes is correct, and satisfy the amount owing from any estate assetes.
Here are a couple of different links regarding filing a decedent's last tax returns: http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc356.html and http://www.irs.gov/uac/How-Do-I-File-a-Deceased-Person%27s-Tax-Return%3F. The second site will walk you through the steps to determine if a return needs filed; the first link tells you what forms you will need to file. (For some reason the site's links are not working but you can copy and paste these sites into your URL).
Am I going to owe more then the levy amount. He is not receiving interest, he is getting credit for the mortgage I'm paying post mortem.
No, liability is usually limited to the amount of levy. Also, the IRS will often times negotiate if the parties are able to pay it off in a lump sum. You mention they won't talk with you because you aren't the personal representative. You would need to file a probate proceeding to be appointed the personal representative if you were interested in that; or you can hire an attorney to negotiate with the IRS.
Despite the fact their are multiple owners on his house, the IRS will still levy for $2000?
If that is the amount owing. All the IRS will be concerned about is whether the person owing the debt was the legal owner at the time of their death, and if so, they will be able to recover the amount owing - generally, if there is equity the heirs will pay off the outstanding amount.
Can this be done without the court? I live in CA and he lived in NY?
It would depend on whether the IRS will deal with the heirs without court Letters Testamentary being issued. Generally the IRS requires this (that way they know you are acting on behalf of your father). However, if you can prove your relation (copy of death certificate, your identification papers, affidavit re: relationship) they may deal directly with you, especially given the amount.
(since it's not signficiant)
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