Robert Spielman, Tax & Business Services Partner, Quoted in The Wall Street Journal Article "The Pearls Are Mine"
The Wall Street Journal
By Kelly Greene,
But what if a parent dies without talking with the children? First, the siblings need to agree on who is in charge, be it a family member or a professional, and give that person final say, advises Robert Spielman, an estate-planning lawyer and certified public accountant with Marcum LLP in Melville, N.Y. Next, they should determine who was promised something and who wants something that was important to him or her.
After the second parent’s death, family members should choose the possessions they want, Mr. Spielman says. Next, the estate’s executor sells, or hires someone to sell, everything possible. (If the estate is taxable, estate tax is owed on those assets, whether or not they are sold.)
The children, as the heirs, typically get what is left after any tax is paid. They also get to claim a tax deduction for the fair-market value of any stuff donated to charity on the date of the donation, according to Mr. Spielman.