Legal Blog

The Weekly Scenario: Executor of an Estate

Question: What happens if the executor of an estate discovers foreign accounts or income that the decedent failed to disclose during his lifetime?

Answer:  The executor of a decedent’s estate has a duty to act in a prudent manner and in accordance with the law (even when this may result in having to report income that perhaps wasn’t but should have been reported).

If the executor of an estate discovers foreign accounts and/or income that the decedent failed to disclose during his lifetime, the executor must bring the decedent’s tax and other returns into compliance. If there are any items that might exonerate the decedent for his noncompliance, the executor must document these facts as well.

If the executor chooses not to bring the accounts into compliance, it can bring high personal risk. It is considered a crime to have knowledge of the commission of a crime and to engage in any affirmative act of concealment. Failure to remedy a delinquency could result in both civil and criminal charges.


As always, if you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact Steve Shane at or 301.575.0313.


Steve Shane Casual | 301.575.0313

Steve Shane provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates.





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