Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
Good morning. I am Loren, a licensed attorney, and I look forward to assisting you.
Why did Wells Fargo take so long to distribute the account?
Wells Fargo may have committed malpractice by taking so long and causing the step up in basis to be lost. You may want to look into filing a complaint seeking reimbursement of your damages.
See the following link: http://www.finra.org/investors/investor-complaint-center
The step up is as of the date of death. So, your only recourse is to find some misconduct on the part of WF, your lawyer or accountant, and leverage some sort of reimbursement as settlement.
Otherwise, you are liable for the capital gains tax.
I realize this is probably not the answer you were hoping to receive. Also, please remember that this is not necessarily a moral judgement on my part. As a professional, however, I am sometimes placed in the position of having to deliver news which is not favorable to a customer's legal position, but accurately reflects their position under the law. I hate it, but it happens and I only ask that you not penalize me with a bad or poor rating for having to deliver less than favorable news.
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