What expenses can be deducted from an heir’s share of an inherited asset?

UPDATED: May 10, 2011

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What expenses can be deducted from an heir’s share of an inherited asset?

My parents own a house here in TX and my brother has been administrating it for the last 25 years. During that time, he claims he spent about $65,000 fixing up and maintaining the place – the house has been rented out all this time – my parents lived out of town and died last year. The house is valued at $250,000. My brother wants to keep the house. I think we should split the value, which he agrees, but he wants to deduct the $65,000 from my portion. Can he legally do that? Is there no depreciation on his claim for the maintenance and wear and tear?

Asked on May 10, 2011 under Estate Planning, Texas


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Your brother as administrator owes you a responsibility to ensure the estate has proper accounting and that expenses are not wasteful of the estate. Further, as a beneficiary, you have a right to ask for an accounting and to see receipts. I believe here your brother may have wasted estate assets and should not be reimbursed for unnecessary expenses, especially if during those past twenty five years he didn't seek reimbursement from your parents. Further, you are correct. All buildings especially those that are investments do go through depreciation for taxation purposes. If I were you I would either a lawyer who is an estate planning attorney who is also a CPA to audit this estate and give you his or her opinion as to what is owed to whom.

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