How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Lane Your Own Question
Lane
Lane, JD, CFP, MBA, CRPS
Category: Tax
Satisfied Customers: 10879
Experience:  Law Degree, specialization in Tax Law and Corporate Law, CFP and MBA, Providing Financial & Tax advice since 1986
1929974
Type Your Tax Question Here...
Lane is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

my dad passed away in 2012. He lived in a one bedroom apt and

This answer was rated:

my dad passed away in 2012. He lived in a one bedroom apt and upon his dead i donated all his personal property to charity (furniture, household items, kitchenware, electronics, etc...). I am the executor on his will but he left no estate other than the above. I received receipts from all charities (Salvation army, Goodwill) in my name for the non-cash donations above but all itemized items were just written down by me as record of waht was donated and not on the receipts themselves. Can I legally deduct the fair market value of the items donated on my 2012 tax return?

NPVAdvisor :

Hi, I can help with this

Customer:

great

NPVAdvisor :

First, I'm sorry to hear of your fathers passing

Customer:

thanks

NPVAdvisor :

Were there other siblings, or were any of hid belongings bequested to others?

NPVAdvisor :

"his" belongings (sorry for the typo)

Customer:

i have six other sisters; no other belongings were bequested to others..

NPVAdvisor :

Ok, then as long as probate has closed (probate comes from the Latin, meaning to prove) as in "to prove" who now owns the assets, then yes they are yours to donate

NPVAdvisor :

If probate has not closed, then technically, they should be deducted on his last tax return (the return that should be filed for the last year he was alive), the if a refund was generated it would be part of the estate and distributed to the beneficiaries

NPVAdvisor :

as per the will

Customer:

So i was told by a local attorney that his property left was not worth the probate (ir. only furniture/household items) and that since he left ~$500 that probate was not required. So i have not done so...is that a problem

NPVAdvisor :

Did you per chance file a small estate affadavit?

NPVAdvisor :

No, you beat me to if

NPVAdvisor :

for a small estate in many estates it's not neccessary

NPVAdvisor :

Then yes, they belong to you and you can do as you please, including denoting them to charities

NPVAdvisor :

Sorry (in many states)

NPVAdvisor :

If your atty was licensed in TX, then I'm sure he was correct, there's even an affidavit for what Texas calls a small estate (and that one's for estate less than 50,000) for less than 500 that would be very common.

NPVAdvisor :

As far as the specific of donating, here's an excellent step by step article:

NPVAdvisor :

.

NPVAdvisor :

.

Customer:

Do i need then to state that to the IRS anything here or do I claim them as if there were mine?

NPVAdvisor :

Just claim them as yours, because they are yours if they were left to you by your father

Customer:

ok thanks...

NPVAdvisor :

The IRS does not care how you came to own things ... (in terms of giving them to a charity) ... they could have been gifts, purchases, handed down from your parents' estate ... that part doesn't matter...

NPVAdvisor :

What they would care about here, is trying to overstate the value, or saying cash contributions were made that were not, etc.

Customer:

How about the valuation? Any recommended practice for estimating the value? Do I have to itemize every single item which would be a big task (over 200 items...) or do I use categories like clothes, Kitchware and estimate the category value?

NPVAdvisor :

Yes, for these types of items categories are fine ... when my father died, my mom used clothes, furniture ... and I think jewelry, for the items that she or neither my brother or I wanted to keep

NPVAdvisor :

read the article I provided when you get a chance...It's an excellent resource and you can always bookmark this page ancd come back here to reference it

Customer:

ok great; anything else i need to be aware of before I conclude?

NPVAdvisor :

No, this is pretty straightforward, just be sure that no one else is claiming the items


 

NPVAdvisor :

And Do keep your records for three years, is always a good idea

NPVAdvisor :

(records of what was donated, receipts, etc)

Customer:

thanks; appreciate your help.

NPVAdvisor :

You're very welcome

NPVAdvisor :

One more thing?

Lane and 3 other Tax Specialists are ready to help you