Stepped-up basis: The Q&A column in the Nov. 11 Real Estate section included information about a home's stepped-up basis to market value for a surviving spouse. It said that the stepped-up basis applies to the deceased spouse's half of the house. That is true for a non-community-property state. But in a community-property state, such as California, the surviving spouse gets a stepped-up basis on the entire property, not just the deceased spouse's half. "Stepped-up basis" means that when the property is eventually sold, there will be less taxable gain.