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I am re-posting this under tax strategies as I didn't get any response under the "Inheritence" heading
When my step-mother died this spring, her will and living trust specified that her assets be divided among the three children (myself & 2 brothers). Before taking our portions, we chose to remove a total of $60,000 from the estate as a donation from the trust to my mother's favorite charity. I expected that my $20,000 could be considered as a charitable donation from me that I could deduct from my taxable income. My brother (executor of her will) says no, the money came from the trust, and not from me. I feel dumb - I guess I should have taken my full share, then sent out the money myself for a deductible donation. What's the real scoop? Is there anything I can do now to make it legitimately deductible?

I'm not sure of the legality of what you (collectively) have done. The executor's responsibility is to collect the assets of the decedent, discharge legitimate liabilities and distribute the remainder to the beneficiaries. If the will did not provide for a charitable contribution, then the executor should not have made a contribution from the estate. You could file suit against the executor for mishandling the estate in the amount of the contribution and he would be personally liable for restoring the amount to the estate. Then you could contribute the $20,000 that you received from the lawsuit. It would be far easier for the executor to file the estate's 1041 documenting that the beneficiaries each received an extra $20,000 and then the beneficiaries can deduct the contributions on their personal returns. However, I am not a lawyer nor an expert on estate matters, so don't act on this advice without consulting an experienced estate/tax professional.

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