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Survivor Is Entitled to Stepped-Up Basis Too

May 30, 1999

Kenneth R. Harney's article ("Congress Seeks to End 'Surviving Spouse' Home Tax," May 16) failed to mention that in community property states, like California, the surviving spouse gets a step up in basis for the deceased spouse's interest and for his or her interest as well.

In the case Harney mentioned, Mary's new basis would be $600,000. Mary could sell the house any time after Bob died and not pay any capital gains tax unless the sales price exceeded $850,000--her new basis of $600,000 plus the $250,000 exclusion.

BRAD PRESTON

Laguna Hills

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