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Is a child responsible for taxes owed of a deceased parent?

Folsom, CA |

A friend's father died last year and before he died he sold stock and took money out of his 401K He never paid the taxes and now the state of california is trying to collect from my friend. Can the son be held responsible for the taxes of his father?

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Attorney answers 3


Yes. When father died he should have filed a final tax return and the father's estate should have paid the taxes. If the son took the proceeds of the father's estate he would also have to pay the father's taxes.

Although the above response is believed to be accurate, it should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice because the information provided is incomplete. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. No attorney client relation is formed with me without a written contract.

Good Luck starts with a strategy and a plan.

Robert J. Suhajda, MS,CPA
17721 Norwalk Blvd. #43
Artesia, CA 90701

Former financial auditor and controller. Admitted to US Tax Court, Income Tax, IRS representation, Fiduciary income tax returns, Estate and Gift tax returns,
Homeowner Association Strategist.

As a strategist, I analyze and integrate the operations, reserve study, budget, and financial statements into a unitary plan for 1 – 5 years, utilizing my experience as
a former treasurer and vice president of a homeowners' association and corporate
controller and auditor, to minimize homeowner association dues.


The primary responsibility falls on his father's estate. If there are funds there to pay the tax then his estate must pay it. If the funds have been distributed then the distributees will be responsible for paying the tax bill.

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He can, up to the amount he received from his father's estate.