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The IRS Just Made Inheriting Property More Challenging – Be Careful!

Posted by Anthony Serra | Jun 04, 2024 | 0 Comments

The IRS introduced a significant change in tax regulation with the new ruling 2023-2, which removes the step-up in cost basis for assets transferred into an irrevocable trust. This change marks a pivotal shift in estate planning and tax strategy, impacting many individuals and families.


Understanding the Step-Up in Basis

Previously, when an asset was transferred into an irrevocable trust and subsequently inherited, its basis—the value used to determine capital gains—was "stepped up" to its market value at the time of the owner's death. This step-up in basis significantly reduced the capital gains tax liability for the heirs when they eventually sold the asset, as the increase in value during the original owner's lifetime was not subject to capital gains tax.


Impact of Ruling 2023-2

Under the new ruling, assets transferred into an irrevocable trust no longer receive this step-up in basis. Instead, the basis of the asset remains the same as it was at the time of the transfer into the trust. This means that heirs will now face potentially higher capital gains taxes, as they will be taxed on the entire appreciation of the asset from the time it was originally acquired by the trustor, not just from the time of inheritance.


Implications for Estate and Medicaid Planning

Estate and Medicaid planners and their clients must now reconsider strategies involving irrevocable trusts. Without the step-up in basis, other tax-efficient strategies may need to be explored to minimize the tax burden on heirs. This might include utilizing other types of trusts, gifting strategies, or alternative investment structures that offer better tax outcomes under the new rules.



IRS Ruling 2023-2 represents a significant alteration in the tax landscape for irrevocable trusts. It is crucial for those involved in estate planning to consult with tax professionals to understand the implications of this change and to explore new strategies for protecting and transferring wealth efficiently in light of the updated regulations.

About the Author

Anthony Serra

Tony Serra is a passionate advocate, especially for the elderly, disabled and those of modest means who need the services of an experienced and caring attorney. For more than 30 years, Tony has been helping common, everyday folks navigate their way through life's turbulent waters. Through innovation and utilizing modern technology, Tony and his law firm are now able to offer quality legal services that at one time were prohibitively expensive, at a fraction of the cost. If you need basic legal services, such as a Will, Power of Attorney, Living Will, Special Needs Trust, real estate transactions, uncontested guardianship pleadings and much more, please visit our website and our SMART LAW legal services platform. You will be pleasantly surprised by what we offer and glad you did! Tony is also an experienced mediator and founder of the Conflict Resolution Center of NJ. Tony has specific training in family matters as well as elder law and contested guardianship and estate cases.  


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