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Can I be forced to pay off an IRS lean on an estate when I don't want the inheritance?

Denver, CO |

I was estranged from my father and he passed last year. He had a small business wound down for his retirement. There is an IRS lien >= the value of the business. I want no part of any of it and am satisfied with liquidation to settle the lien. My older sister wants the business and requested a carte blanche release of my claim. I agreed but requested information and for her to prepare an appropriate document that protected my from liability which I would sign. She refused both and has refused to send me any details on the estate or business. The other siblings released their claims. She is now threatening me with half of the IRS bill. What is my exposure and risk? The estate and sister are on the East Coast.

Thank you for your replies. As I stated, I have no, none, zero documents from probate or anywhere else. All of my requests have been ignored despite specific requests. Is asserting my claim and forcing liquidation a possibility?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

Is there a probate? You would only be liable up to the value of the distribution you receive from the estate. If you do not want anything, the best alternative is a qualified disclaimer of all rights in the estate. That, however, is a matter of timing, it may be too late. You need to meet with a probate attorney and go over all the documents you have and whatever documents you have from the Probate.

If this is a trust, you will need to object to any distributions until the IRS issue is paid off.

The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or given me confidential information by posting on this public forum, and my answer on this public forum does not constitute attorney-client advice. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: In order to comply with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. While I am licensed to practice in New York and California, I do not actively practice in New York. Regardless, nothing said should be deemed an opinion of law of any state. All readers need to do their own research or pay an attorney for a legal opinion if one is necessary or desired.

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Posted

Attorney Shultz is correct. Your best move is to retain an attorney who can review the existing documents and advise you as to the necessary steps to protect yourself. Good luck to you.

This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. I am licensed in Connecticut and New York and my answers are based upon the law in those jurisdictions. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if I were to review a client's file and have the opportunity to interview the client. Accordingly, I strongly urge you to retain an attorney in your jurisdiction with respect to any legal matter.

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Posted

I agree with my collegues...there is information missing. However, you are not liable for your father's debts, including for taxes. If you recieved distributions, however, you may be liable to the extent of those distributions. Visiting with counsel may help you sleep at night. Good luck!

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Posted

I agree with my colleagues. You are not liable for a distribution that you have not received. Your sister cannot bully you into it. Of course, if she distributes half the business to you, then you could be liable to the extent of what you receive. I would think that a qualified disclaimer should adequately protect your interests.

James Frederick

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

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