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Are there fines & penalties for Tax debts to heirs after death of tax evader ?

Palm Springs, CA |

A wealthy US Citizen died in Europe after having lived there for over 50 years - in all this time never (!) filing for taxes. He also had a kind of tax-evasion-company in Liechtenstein. (Bonds and other papers in secret)
If the probate gets sent to the US - will they look into the taxes automatically ? And, if they do and the assets are taxed - will there be fines on top? Are there statues of limitations after a person died?

For Clarity: 1.) For establishing, whether probate gets reinstated in Europe, will the taxes be looked into automatically? 2.) Are there fines on assets for the heirs (or the assets) PLUS taxation? (non-US Citzen heir) 3.) Substantial Gifts to non US-Citizen before death - will they be taxed after death as well? 4.) how many percent interest rates and how many years back will they count? (I am contesting the will against the sole heir and need substantial potential threat for an outside-of-court agreement)

Attorney Answers 4


  1. You say "to heirs" and this seems strange. Penalties and punishments will be potentially meted out to the estate, and it may get smaller as a result.

    Curt Harrington Patent & Tax Law Attorney Certified Tax Specialist by the California Board of Legal Specialization PATENTAX.COM This communication is general information and not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This communication should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice. Please note that no attorney-client relationship exists between the sender and the recipient of this message in the absence of either (1) a signed fee contract and (2) remission of an agreed-upon retainer. Absent such an agreement and retainer, I am not engaged by you as an attorney, nor is any other member of my law firm.


  2. If you are contesting a will you need a lawyer, and a good one, especially in the situation you describe. Your questions should be addressed to your lawyer. You are in deep water here. The issues you raise about tax liability are very difficult even for most lawyers. As an attorney, I certainly would not represent a client in a will contest in the situation you describe without expert tax advice. If you don't have an attorney, get one now and be prepared to spend a lot of money on legal fees.

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  3. Wait a minute here. You are going to raise these issues in a will contest and possibly expose this family to criminal tax fraud, civil tax fraud and other tax liabilities. You better be careful here. Get with a tax and estates attorney, one who knows about international tax law before your start threatening or extorting (?) money from this family.

    Hope this helps.

    Please remember to designate a best answer to your question.

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  4. Definitely talk to an attorney first. This sounds a little weird at best.

    Christopher Larson

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