Articles Posted in Death Taxes

Your “basis” for calculating capital gains taxes is what you paid for the stock or the real estate. For real estate, the basis gets raised by the amount of any capital improvements you make to the property.  When you sell your primary residence you may exclude the first $500,000 of gain if you’re a couple or $250,000 if you’re single.  The $500,000 exclusion for a couple get extended for a sale occurring up to two years after a spouse dies.

For gifts you receive of appreciated stock or real estate during the donor’s lifetime, no capital gains tax is payable, however the donee receives the donor’s basis.  It is generally considered better to wait, if possible, and pass the gift to the donee at death, due to the “stepped-up basis”.  The basis of any inherited property is “stepped-up” to date of death value.  If the property is sold within six months of the date of death, then the sale price is deemed to be the date of death value.

If the property is going to be held for some time it is helpful to get date of death values to establish the new basis.  For real estate, this means getting an appraisal from a licensed real estate appraiser (not a real estate broker!).  For stocks, you simply ask the company holding the stocks to provide this information.

Your “basis” for calculating capital gains taxes is what you paid for the stock or the real estate. For real estate, the basis gets raised by the amount of any capital improvements you make to the property.  When you sell your primary residence you may exclude the first $500,000 of gain if you’re a couple or $250,000 if you’re single.  The $500,000 exclusion for a couple get extended for a sale occurring up to two years after a spouse dies.

For gifts you receive of appreciated stock or real estate during the donor’s lifetime, no capital gains tax is payable, however the donee receives the donor’s basis.  It is generally considered better to wait, if possible, and pass the gift to the donee at death, due to the “stepped-up basis”.  The basis of any inherited property is “stepped-up” to date of death value.  If the property is sold within six months of the date of death, then the sale price is deemed to be the date of death value.

If the property is going to be held for some time it is helpful to get date of death values to establish the new basis.  For real estate, this means getting an appraisal from a licensed real estate appraiser (not a real estate broker!).  For stocks, you simply ask the company holding the stocks to provide this information.

In the recent case of Boyle v. Anderson, the Virginia Supreme Court issued what has the potential to be an influential decision about arbitration statements found in trusts. 

The Story Behind the Case

Before his death, a man established an inter Vivos irrevocable trust that he intended to be divided into three portions. One third was to be given to the man’s daughter, one to his son, and one to the children of the third child. After the man’s death, his daughter became both the trust’s beneficiary and trustee. The trust included an unambiguous arbitration clause that stated any dispute that is not amicably resolved through mediation or any other method should be resolved through arbitration. 

Since 2021, many conversations have been had about the Build Back Better Act,  which saw several substantial tax increases. While some people have described the Act as dead, the future of the act remains uncertain. 

Despite what happens to the act, its contents are subjects to which Congress is likely to respond in regards to what is referred to as “death taxes”. 

A “death tax” is a type of “transfer tax” and is referred to as an estate tax. Most people are acquainted with income tax. If an individual receives a salary, the salary is taxed. If a person sells a property that has appreciated, the gain also receives what is referred to as a capital gains tax. Ordinary income tax, as well as capital gains tax, are two types of income tax.

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