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My recently deceased mother had opened a joint account with my brother and deposited the proceeds of the sale of her home so he could manage her expenses. Now that she has passed on, my brother and I have decided to split the remaining amount in the account. Two questions. Does he have to limit the amount he can give me to 10,000/yr to avoid gift taxes? Do I have to worry about paying income tax on the amount he gives me?

My condolences on the loss of your mother. At least most of the tax law part of your question is easy. Gifts are never taxable income to the recipient, and total calendar year gifts of more than $11,000 (I think it went up this year) require that the donor file a gift tax return.

The question is, whose money are we talking about--your brother's or the estate's? If the money is considered part of the estate, estate tax limits rather than gift tax limits apply. Although your mother evidently avoided seeing an estate planning attorney, I suggest you and your brother hire one to help you through this.

Phil Marti
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