topic | gather information, make notifications

Step 1: obtain an employer identification number

Setting up a bank account specifically for the estate is required. This makes the executor's job of paying estate bills and distributing estate funds easier. Opening this account requires an identification number called the Federal Tax ID or Employer Identification Number (EIN). If an attorney is handling probate, request that they initiate this process. Requests for an EIN may also be submitted online at www.irs.gov or manually using the IRS form SS-4. If the deceased did not have assets or accounts held solely in their name, it may not be necessary to open an estate checking account.

Gather necessary information prior to starting the application. This information may be found in Personal Information. If not, use it as a guide.  Required is the deceased’s:

  • exact name, according to IRS records
  • Social Security Number
  • address
  • county
  • phone number

Also needed is the executor’s:

Online applications can be submitted Monday – Friday between 6:00 am and 12:30 am Eastern Time and Saturdays between 6:00 am and 9:00 pm Eastern Time.






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