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I have been unable to find a price to use as my basis. No appraisal was done, becuase no one knew this trust existed. What the he!! should I do?

You'll need to do something. You could easily pay a professional appraiser to get you an appraisal as of 2002. The cost would probably be more than that for a current appraisal, but not excessively so.

You could also do your own appraisal, basically the same stuff a professional appraiser would do. Find comparable sales happening during the time in question. Compare those properties to yours and make the appropriate adjustments to reflect significant differences.

You could just estimate the basis. If the IRS were to ask, you'd need to have some reasonable basis for your estimate.

Finally, you could just use a zero basis. At least you would avoid any issues around underreporting your income with this one. Depending on your estimate of the basis and the total taxes involved, the cost of getting a good appraisal may be more than the taxes saved with the appraisal. So it becomes as much a financial decision as anything.

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