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

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.

Denver, CO -

Attorney Answers (4)

Charles Adam Shultz

Charles Adam Shultz

Probate Attorney - Los Angeles, CA
Answered

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... more
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Joseph Michael Pankowski Jr

Joseph Michael Pankowski Jr

Probate Attorney - Stamford, CT
Answered

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... more
E Dwight Taylor

E Dwight Taylor

Estate Planning Attorney - Aurora, CO
Answered

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!

This general response is not intended to be legal advice because I don't have all the facts. The particular facts... more
James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick

Probate Attorney - Livonia, MI
Answered

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. ******... more

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