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akatschi1: "Thank you for your reply. I was basing my hopes on the "life estate" principle touched upon in #41406. Any chance that would apply here?"

I have not read #41406, at least not recently, but for your father to have had a life estate in the property, he would need to have reserved it (or excepted it, if previously existing) in the deed to your and your brother. You cannot retroactively (and posthumously) create a life estate that did not exist back in the 1980s.

Estate tax is not my forte, but I beleive that a reserved life estate would have changed the estate issues surrounding the gift. You will need to review the deed (and possible other title conveyances), but I tend to doubt that life estate existed --- it would be unlikely to be created inadvertently.

Regards, JAFO
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