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Loren, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 34029
Experience:  30 years experience in the practice of estate law.
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I inherited $120,000 from my uncle who left s total estate

Customer Question

I inherited $120,000 from my uncle who left his total estate of approx $1,900,000 in a trust in Montana which was initiated in 1975. The income from the trust supported his wife until her death in 2012 after my uncle died in 1985. It took Wells Fargo, who handled the trust, until Oct., 2014 to find and distribute his estate to 13 cousins. The trust was invested in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and a small amount of cash. I chose to have WELLS Fargo, Las Vegas, sell my shares and then transfer to my broker in Calif. who then invested in their plan of stock, bonds and mutual funds. After this all occurred I received a 1099 which claims there was a $42,000 capital gain because of the acquisition dates from 1985 thru 2014 and the profit when shares were sold in 2014. The consequence of selling these shares was not properly explained to me by Wells Fargo. Shouldn't there be a step up or something from the time when the aunt died or the time of disbursement so that the capital gain is reduced? Or could this be considered under inheritance law so I'm not on the hook for this?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.

Good morning. I am Loren, a licensed attorney, and I look forward to assisting you.

Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.

Why did Wells Fargo take so long to distribute the account?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Still waiting for the answer. Your system is very difficult to connect to. I have received 2 messages saying there is an answer but can't receive it. Just installed iPad app but it hasn't come thru yet. Come on - you spent my money already....
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.

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.

Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.

See the following link:

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The trust hadn't been updated since it originated in 1975. All beneficiaries had died and their descendants had to be located and verified then approved by court
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.

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.

Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.

Did you have further questions? Have I answered your question?

Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.

If you have no further questions, and have not yet done so, please remember to leave a favorable rating (Excellent or Good) so that I am credited for assisting you. A bonus is not required, but is always appreciated.