Can gifts be deducted form an inheritance?

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Can gifts be deducted form an inheritance?

A long time friend, and my companion of over 20 years, passed away almost 2 years ago now. During his lifetime he paid my expenses when I was out of work or recovering from 2 different auto accidents. He forgave that money as he was 30 years my senior and I helped him. Then, his son put him into a nursing home. The family rarely visited but I would go take him shopping, to the senior center, church, etc. at least 3 times per week. In a Will drawn up after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it was added after my $100,000 inheritance,

Asked on January 16, 2019 under Estate Planning, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Gifts would not be deducted unless the will instructs that they should be--if the will states to deduct gifts, then they not only may, but must, be deducted. The terms of the will must be followed.
As for what constitutes a gift--while there is no clear cut definition and every situation is judged on its own facts, generally, they would be items or money give to you, or costs or bills paid for you where the giver was not himself receiving a benefit. So, for example, half the rent on a condo you share is not a gift--that was him paying his share of rent for a place he used. But him paying your bills on your primary residence when he did not live there would be a gift, since--because he does not live there--there is not a benefit to him.


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