Do I need to pay decedent’s income tax?

Asked about 3 years ago - Walnut Creek, CA

My mother passed away in May of 2010. Her home was in a trust (may have had both of our names on it) and I am the beneficiary. Before her death there was an IRA to Roth IRA conversion. I am the beneficiary of the Roth IRA and took possession in December of 2010. Will I have to pay what is owed on her income taxes? She had no other assets besides those mentioned above.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Dustin James Wetton

    Contributor Level 11


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It sounds like this could be a situation where the personal representative should file a tax return on behalf of your Mother. On the written, you should notate that she is "DECEASED", as well as the date of death.

    Although it is rare, there are situations that would cause the IRS to seek collection activity for unpaid taxes or unfiled returns of recently deceased. If the deceased leaves an estate or an inheritance to his family, it can be seized to satisfy the outstanding Tax Debt.

    The tax return should report any income the deceased person received before the date of death, as in your situation, any income in the year 2010 before May 2010. The full standard deduction and personal exemption can be claimed on the tax return.

    Be sure to talk with a tax professional or attorney to see what forms need to be filed in this particular case.

    Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on. Each factual situation is... more
  2. David L. Carrier


    Contributor Level 18


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Generally, the estate answers for the debts of the decedent... check with your mother's tax preparer to see if any taxes were withheld at the time of the conversion... get a tax lawyer to review the situation....

  3. Steven J. Fromm

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The estate must file an income tax return for the period 1/1/10 to May_,2010. The Roth conversion would trigger the inclusion of the amount in this return. The estate would be responsible for such taxes due. However, the estate may have the ability to revoke the Roth conversion under IRS rules. Whether to do so depends on running the numbers. Get with an estates/tax attorney right away to see what to do and to do this timely.

    Hope this helps. If you like this answer and have a Google account , please hit the +1 sign above. It takes just a second to do this and it would be most appreciated and would help others. Thanks.
    Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is , his website is and his blog is

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia... more
  4. Suzanne Alexandra Ascher

    Contributor Level 8


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I concur and agree with my fellow attorneys.

    Provided that the conversation from the IRA (assuming traditional IRA or the like) to ROTH IRA is upheld, expect income taxes to be owed.

    Please immediately consult your tax attorney, accountant, tax advisor, etc. to determine the proprer amount of income tax to be paid if you have not done so already.

    All best,

    Suzanne Alexandra Ascher, Esq., CPA, Tax LL.M.

    Legal disclaimer by Suzanne Alexandra Ascher, Esq: My answer is strictly for information and education purposes... more

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.


Ask now

24,568 answers this week

3,050 attorneys answering

Ask a Lawyer

Get answers from top-rated lawyers.

  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous

24,568 answers this week

3,050 attorneys answering