Thursday, May 6, 2010
On Tuesday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that personal estates, not heirs, are liable for paying state and federal estate taxes. However, the Court declined to adopt an apportionment rule that would divide the tax liabilities when the deceased does not indicate who is to pay and in what proportion. Justice Abrahamson said that Wisconsin lawmakers are responsible for deciding what policy the state will use.
Jessica Schleis, who inherited more than $3.7 million from her godfather, was pleased with this decision. The other heirs will now have to pay approximately $1.5 million in state and federal estate taxes on Jessica’s portion of the estate and are considering appealing to the United States Supreme Court.
See Ryan J. Foley, Court: Estate, Not Heirs, Responsible for Taxes, AP, May 4, 2010.Special thanks to Melinda Gustafson Gervasi (attorney, Madison, Wisconsin) for bringing this to my attention.