IRS Provides Guidance for Executors of New York Estates for 2010 Deaths

A recent article on Forbes.com lays out the long-awaited guidance for executors of estates of people who died in 2010, explaining how executors can opt out of the estate tax and which tax rules apply to assets if they do.

Being named an executor in a New York estate or trust carries a big responsibility and one of those responsibilities is determining how best to handle the assets and minimize New York Estate Taxes. But this isn’t something a person must handle on their own. Hiring an experienced and knowledgeable New York City Estate Lawyer to provide guidance in this area of law is a smart move for someone who isn’t familiar with the law.
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While New York state law doesn’t conform to the federal estate tax laws, there are ways to save on estate taxes through various strategies that can be used, such as by giving a lifetime gift or charitable contribution. There are many areas of this law and a New York Estate Lawyer should be hired to provide advice for every step of the way.

According to the article, the estate tax and the generation-skipping transfer tax were repealed on Jan. 1, 2010, but last December, President Obama signed a law that reinstated them. This law gives people who died in 2010 a special tax break, meaning executors can opt out of the default estate tax regime. In 2010, the maximum federal estate tax rate was 35 percent. The New York Probate Lawyer Blog has previously reviewed the new federal estate tax laws.

Opting out requires the filing of Form 8939 and also means opting out of the stepped-up basis rule and into the carryover basis rule under the Internal Revenue Code.

Carryover means that assets keep the same basis and the basis in the hands of the decedent “carries over” to the recipient. If the basis is greater than fair market value, the basis is limited to the fair market value, however, the article states.

The article also reports that the generation skipping transfer tax exemption in 2010 was set at $5 million with a 0 percent tax rate and that the wealthiest of taxpayers had only a brief opportunity to take advantage.

It’s obvious from this article how complicated being an executor can be in a New York estate. There are many options to consider when determining how to handle a New York estate or will. There are both state and federal tax laws to take into consideration, all while balancing the desires of the decedent and perhaps the constant bickering from estate beneficiaries. It is a lot to balance and must be handled carefully in order to properly care for the decedent’s assets.


Manhattan Estate Attorney Jules M. Haas has helped many clients over the past 30 years resolve issues relating to intestate estates, estate planning, kinship and estate settlement. I have represented clients in these matters throughout New York including Brooklyn and Queens Counties. If you or someone you know has any questions regarding these matters, please contact me at (212) 355-2575 for an initial consultation.

More Blog Entries:

Ten Tips for Planning Your Estate and Will in New York: July 28, 2011
Additional Resources:

Tax Deadlines For 2010 Deaths? IRS Finally Issues Guidance, by Hani Sarji, Forbes.com

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