What is the Inheritance Estate Form?
The "Inheritance Estate Form" is a form that is filed with the Puerto Rico Treasury Department, after a person dies, to report the assets he/she left behind. The Form is also known as "Form de Contribución sobre Caudal Relicto" or "Form de Herencia". Such assets include real and personal property, such as houses, accounts in financial institutions and motor vehicles, wherever located.
In addition, liabilities, such as mortgage, loan or credit card debts, must be included. Once the IRS evaluates the Form, it issues a "Certification of Lien", better known as "Waiver from the IRS". The Form must be processed then the resolution of the Declaration of Heirs is obtained, if there was no Will. If there is a Will, the Form can be requested as soon as a certification is obtained from the Registry of Wills of Puerto Rico.
What is the contribution to be paid?
The vast majority of assets in Puerto Rico are exempt from estate taxes. However, this will depend on the total assets and the year in which the person died.
Why is Form necessary?
The "Waiver" which is issued after the filing of the Inheritance Estate Form is necessary for the heirs to be able to transfer movable and immovable property in their name. For example, for the withdrawal of funds in financial institutions in excess of $15,000. It is also indispensable for the transfer of immovable property in the Land Registry. It is also required for the transfer of ownership of motor vehicles.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, it should be noted that a banking institution may disburse up to ten percent (10%) of the total funds deposited without the Inheritance Estate Form. This is to cover expenses to cover funeral expenses and other items arising after death.
Who can file the Form?
The Form can be submitted by the heirs, or by the lawyer or accountant, if any. Due to its complexity, it is advisable to hire a professional who is dedicated to this type of procedure. Otherwise, there is a risk that due to ignorance or carelessness, mistakes could be made. This would then involve extra time and expense in trying to correct them. At Abogado Notario Online we specialise in all these procedures.
What documents are needed?
A copy of the Death Certificate must be included, which as legal representatives, we can obtain if the person died in Puerto Rico.
If there is no Will, which is the most common, then we must first obtain the Court Resolution of the Declaration of Heirs. On the other hand, if a Will was left, which we as lawyers verify as part of our work, then we also do the paperwork to seek a copy.
In addition, it is necessary to include balance sheet certifications from financial institutions. It is important that these statements reflect the balance sheet at the date of death.
Certifications that there are no outstanding debts at the Municipal Revenue Collection Centre ("CRIM") must be included. At Abogado Notario Online, we will take care of obtaining these all these necessary documents.
Is it possible to present the Form even if there are outstanding debts with the Treasury or the CRIM?
It is possible but not recommended as the process would be slower and more difficult. In such a case, by exception, the tax authorities can issue what is called a "Waiver Condicionado". This could happen, for example, if there is a pending sale and purchase of real estate. In this way, the money received from the sale will be used to pay the debts to the government (CRIM, etc.). This alternative involves additional paperwork and costs.
How or where is Form presented?
It is important to note that transactions of deceased persons' estate assets from 2011 onwards are now only done electronically through the Unified Internal Revenue System ("SURI"). The Puerto Rico Treasury Department is the agency in charge of managing SURI. However, this system can be complicated for those who do not regularly work with these types of matters. Therefore, it is recommended that this Form be submitted only by an attorney, or in the alternative, an accountant.
When should the Form be submitted to the tax authorities?
The Inheritance Estate Form is supposed to be submitted to the Department of Revenue within nine (9) months after the death. Otherwise, the agency may issue fines or penalties, although this rarely happens.
How long does it take for the tax authorities to process it?
The Tax Department can take 1-6 months to process the Form. However, it is important that it is prepared by a professional, be it a lawyer or an accountant, so that no information is left out. This will avoid delays that can cost you extra money and effort.
What is the cost for preparing the Form?
As each case is different, if you would like an estimate, please fill in the form below. However, to ensure the continuity of the legal procedures, at Abogado Notario Online we generally only work on complete inheritance cases, from start to finish. In other words, we do not deal separately with the Inheritance Estate Form but only with the entire transfer of inheritance. This is because it is recommended that the same lawyer handles the entire inheritance case. Otherwise, if the multiple procedures to be carried out are divided, the time and costs increase, as it is common to find errors that later need to be corrected.
What if I want to know more about the inheritance transfer process?
For more details on the full process, click here.