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1) Mom (in her mid-60's) has a lot of assets. Land, houses, cash in the bank, etc. I have no idea what the total value is.

Mom desperately needs a competent estate planner yesterday. Try to point out to her that she's being penny wise and pound foolish by trying to do this herself.

In short answer to some of your questions, the estate pays estate taxes before distributing anything to the heirs, and you'll get clobbered with tax on capital gains when you sell the house if she gives it to you rather than letting you inherit it. In addition, she'll be saddled with a gift tax return and a reduction in the amount that will ultimately be distributed tax-free when she dies.

Phil Marti
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