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ESTATE PLANNING question - in ARIZONA


doctordoctor
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this is in Arizona.....

 

sad to say that my mother is dying....kidney failure, among other serious ills, and she chose not to do dialysis......doing what I can, but she's frustrated....

 

she is on the title to houses my brother and I live in...bro is in his house with she and him as JTWRS and I'm in my place with she and I as JTWRS...(yes, she bought the two places)...I've set up a beneficiary deed for her small place to avoid probate on it.....all three are free and clear.....all other "cash" accounts have TODs set up - half to each of we two siblings.....

 

because of the JTWRS thing, I think her estate "owns" exactly half of the bro place and mine, right??....if so, does the other half "owned" by bro and I pass to us without gift consequences?......if this assumption is correct, her estate is valued at around $1.4 million, so no worries about an estate/inheritance/death tax for this year, right?......

 

thanks a lot for an expert who can answer this.....appreciate it

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I am sorry to hear of your mother's problems. What you suspect about the legal issues sounds right to me, but I think it is not a good idea to get medical or legal advice from a message board. If there is over a million dollars at stake, surely you can spring for the proper advice from a lawyer.

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Good advice, Lucky.

 

I agree, don't rely on third-party advice. Get a lawyer immediately. If you do not have one now, ask a friend, co-worker or relative if they have one they can recommend. Look for an "Elder Care" lawyer who has experience in estate planning, as well as wills and trusts.

 

You need the advice of someone who knows the laws and regulations within your state, and will protect your inheritance rights.

 

 

Ed

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The prior posters are right. Get a lawyer. The joint tenancy with right of survivorship ("JTWRS") just means that the real estate can be transferred to the survivor without probate. It does not necessarily mean she only owns half for federal estate tax purposes. When I was in law school, quite a long time ago, the estate included the entire value of joint tenancy property except to the extent the survivor could show that he or she contributed to the property's purchase. SF Traveler

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thanks to all.....yes, a lawyer should be consulted with, but hard to make that happen right now.....fortunately, much is done re: paperwork, power-of-attorney, etc., but had this little issue crop up lately....

 

and thanks for not flaming me for such a selfish issue.....

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Guest bighugbearphx

Not an attorney, and I echo the previous responses that urge you to verify whatever info you get here WITH an attorney, one familiar with AZ law.

 

That said, there is no "gift tax" issue at someone's death. Depending on what you and your brother actually PAID for each of your shares of the home ownership, it is possible that a gift tax return should have been filed BACK THEN, when you were added to the title. But that is a moot point now.

 

As far as whether half or all of the value of the house will be in her estate, that depends on who actually put up the money for the house. If she paid it all, it is possible that it is all includable in her estate, regardless of the joint tenancy title.

 

As you seem to be aware, there is no federal estate tax on gross estates under $2 million (those dying in 2008). Arizona follows that lead as well.

 

Be sure you have a formal appraisal of the houses done. This may be needed not just for probate and determining if an estate tax return must be filed, but will be needed to determine gain or loss if you eventually sell the properties (There is a step-up in basis on the inherited portion, which essentially shields any increase in value up to the date of her death.)

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I am not a lawyer, but couldn't she "Sell" her share of the houses to the boys for a nominal amount ($1) and have the deeds recorded in their names? Wouldn't that avoid all of those issues?

 

In looking at the property records for the condos in my building (in VA) on my couny's property tax website I seem to remember seeing units transferred to family members in "sales" that amounted to a no-money deal.

 

I will echo all the other advice. Consult an estate lawyer. They should be able to handle your issues easily and give you the correct advice.

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