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How many times have I seen this scenario.

Similar to what I always hear:

"Well my Great grandfather bought this land for 2 dollars per acre and when he died grandad inherited it but he didnt file an inheritance return when he died -- Aunt Mabel somehow got her name on the deed but we never figured that one out... and we did hear that grandad gifted the land to all 15 of us grandkids before he died .... subject to a life estate of course."

So my cost basis is in the 1/20th undivided interest in the remaining timber sold off of the land is ????????????????

Sometimes we must revert to the SWAG method of determining cost basis.

S = Scientific
W = Wild
A = Ass
G = Guess

Realistically - at times you must use good judgement and common sense when you may not have all the facts at hand. It sounds as though you have done so.

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