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OK, that helps. So it is your father's money. The estate
will have to pay CA and federal estate tax, but that is not your
problem nor your father's.
Your father puts the money in an account in his own name.
He can give you and your sister each $10000 annually without
incurring gift tax. He can write a will giving you and your
sister, or maybe his church or whoever, proportions when he
dies. He might want to do a "revocable living trust" or any
number of ploys to avoid estate tax being taken out of this
little bundle on his death. If he puts your name or your
sister's on the account, that is regarded as a gift in excess
of the limit and gift tax will be due.
Of course in the meantime he can pick up the tab for some
nice dinners and vacations he might take with you and/or your
sister, but as far as "gift", just $10000 a year each. If he
gives you more than that, he (not you) must pay gift tax.
Presumably you have said some prayers and visited the
grave of the long-lost brother, who got found a little too
late for you to know him well!
Best wishes, Chris
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