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Inheritance – Taxes and Penalties

Q: I just received 3 CD’s as a bequest from my dad. Will I have to pay any taxes on this inheritance? I would like to take some cash out of one of the CD’s, and would like to know if there are any taxes or penalties if I do this.

A: There are a number of factors that need to be considered before answering this completely:

1. Estate tax: The 2016 limit is $5.45 million per individual, so as long as your father’s estate was under this amount, the assets are likely yours (estate-tax-free).

2. Title: If they were solely owned in your father’s name, you would likely inherit these and not have to pay taxes on the gain in the CD’s as it should be considered as a “step-up” in basis.  Please confirm this with qualified tax advisor as we are not.

3. Penalties: Unfortunately, this will likely depend on the CD issuing company.  It is likely that you would still have to pay penalties of the last 3-months worth of interest for a withdrawal.  You must confirm this with the issuing bank.

4. Taxes on interest: You would likely have to pay taxes on the accumulated interest between the date of death and the withdrawal, but again you should confirm this with a qualified tax advisor.


 

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