Can a creditor take all estate assets or only what a specific beneficiary owes?

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Can a creditor take all estate assets or only what a specific beneficiary owes?

My wife’s grandma is dying and she has left my wife about 80k inheritance. If my wife’s father is the executor of the Will/trust and he owes the IRS a significant amount of back taxes, will the IRS go after all of it or just his portion of what is willed to her father?

Asked on February 3, 2011 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your current situation.  the IRS can not go after the assets of your wife's Grandmother just because her father - who owes them money - is the names executor of her Last Will and Testament.  Now, he is the proposed executor as she has yet to pass away.  And guess what?  He can renounce the position, thereby allowing someone else to take on the fiduciary roles here.  And given what you have stated in your question I am thinking that it would be a very valid suggestion for your wife to make.  So her inheritance is safe and the IRS can go after him when he inherits his portion.  Good luck with everything.


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