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Tax Law (Questions About Taxes)/liquidating investments and tax consequences for a retiree

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hi - I'm (newly) responsible for managing my retired elderly single mother's finances. I'm uncomfortable with the amount of her investments that are in stock funds. I'm guessing that there have been significant gains over the years. My concern is that there is enough money to cover her living expenses and I don't think she has any reason to be invested at this point in her life, 91 years old.

I would like to get a handle on how to decide what to sell and how much to sell so that I can optimize the gains and avoid paying taxes as much as possible. My questions are:

1. Do I need to see a professional, and if so, who should I choose, a CPA or ??

2. What can I do to educate myself? Even if I go for a consultation, I would like to have some sort of foundation/background in the subject.

Maybe it's not that complicated, and I just need to look at her tax bracket and play with the numbers to see what might trigger bad tax consequences. I just don't know.

Thank you,
rob

Answer
it really depends upon magnitude.  how much and what does she own and her original basis. etc.   and if you even need to liquidate any to provide for her care.  

at 91, not many people would have her in anything other than basic cash generating accounts - cd, interest, basic non volatile funds, etc.

It might be better to switch some and leave others alone - getting the step up when she passes.  You have a fiduciary conundrum if you are both manager now and have _other_ beneficiaries to contend with.  Things you do now could affect mom and the future beneficiaries in different ways.

That is probably your biggest quandary.  

If you make a new question and mark it private (little box you have to affirmatively check in a NEW question - not a reply to this). I will give you my contact and we can chat live on the phone or skype if you want.  

P

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Tax and general business including hospitality related (hotel mgmt degree and experience in industry prior to obtaining ms tax and cpa).

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19 years cpa. ms tax. NOTE: My discussions are only a general information and do not constitute tax advise without entering into a specific agreement and executing an engagement letter; This free chat is nothing more than general information and should not be construed as tax advice nor does my response or replies imply an agreement to provide client specific advice or other guidance for purposes of avoiding IRS tax or penalties and should not be relied upon without your own validation and confirmation of the how the discussion may fit your facts... Not having all the facts and/or not having a direct client relationship prevents me from providing the most accurate replies as possible and I highly suggest using a local CPA to provide you with written advice and guidance. Taking matters into your own hands is much akin to trying to land an airplane without a license. It is easy to FLY a plane, but LANDING is when critical experience is key. In short, caveat emptor; do your homework and don't just rely on free chat board advice anywhere, anytime.

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a bunch.

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MS tax and other post graduate coursework

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variety including Summa Cum Laude

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