If I’m a co-owner on a bank account that my father wants me to distribute the money in it to my siblings after his death, will I incur any gift tax liability?

My father has named me PR of his Will. He also put me as a secondary co-owner on his bank account (about $150K) so that I can have immediate access to money after he passes for paying utility bills and final expenses. He then wants me to take the remainder and split it equally among me and my siblings. I can be trusted to honor his wishes but should I be worried about a gift tax liability for me or my siblings? He flat-out does not want a living Trust. I suggested he do a POD on the bank account instead however he said that way I won’t have the extra money I need for expenses immediately. He did talk to an attorney to prepare the his Will, but I don’t know what advice he got. Am I worrying too much about the tax stuff?

Asked on July 25, 2014 under Estate Planning, Georgia

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You should worry because of possible gift tax liabilities for the amount and for any interest earned. There may be alternatives to trusts to protect his concerns and yours. You could give up to the maximum cap each year (check with the IRS) to avoid gift tax.


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