MooneyOnMoney.com

Estate Read Time: 4 min

Understanding the Alternate Valuation Date

When an individual dies, the executor is faced with an important decision that has the potential to impact the taxes owed by the estate and its heirs. The executor will have the option of valuing the estate on the date of death, or alternately, on the six-month anniversary of death – the latter is, fittingly, referred to as the “Alternate Valuation Date.”1,2

Pick a Date

It may seem like an obvious decision and simple choice, but it’s not. Here’s why.

For estates with substantial holdings in stocks, the use of the Alternate Valuation Date may be an appropriate approach if the executor believes stock prices will be lower than they were on the date of death.

When heirs inherit assets, such as stocks, they may receive a step-up in the cost basis of the asset if its value is higher than it was when the original owner acquired it. The heirs’ valuation is reset to either the value on the date of the owner's death or the value on the Alternate Valuation Date – whichever is chosen by the executor.3

Market Moves

Let’s take a look at a hypothetical example. Let’s say Dad bought Out-of-Date Technologies several years ago when stock prices were $10 per share. At his death, the stock was worth $35. The executor used the Alternate Valuation Date, and six months later, due to market movements, the stock was worth $28.

His heir, Julie, will inherit this asset and receive a step-up in the cost basis of it to $28, the value declared by the estate. Now, let’s assume that Julie sells the stock a short time later at $35 per share.

If the estate had used the value on the date of death ($35), she might not have owed capital gains tax, as she would have been selling the stock at the same price as her cost basis. But since she received the stock with the lower cost basis ($28 – the Alternate Valuation Date), capital gains tax on the $7-per-share gain may be due.4

In this example, the estate saved money by electing the Alternate Valuation Date, but the heir was exposed to a lower cost basis as well as the prospect of paying higher capital gains tax in the future.

Consider & Balance

As the executor thinks through this balancing act, they should consider the relative prevailing tax rates for the estate and which approach may result in the most efficient transfer, net of taxes, to the heirs.

Keep in mind that the information in this article is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.

1. The article assumes the deceased has a valid will and has named an executor, who is responsible for carrying out the directions of the will. If a person dies intestate, it means that a valid will has not been executed. Without a valid will, a person’s property will be distributed to the heirs as defined by state law.
2. IRS.gov, 2021
3. Investopedia.com, 2021
4. This is a hypothetical example used for illustrative purposes only. It is not representative of any specific investment or combination of investments.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

Share |
 

Related Content

3 Important Insurance Considerations for Retirees

3 Important Insurance Considerations for Retirees

Insurance policies are designed to help protect your livelihood, your loved ones, your property and those around you.

When Should You Take Social Security

When Should You Take Social Security

Monthly Social Security payments differ substantially depending on when you start receiving benefits.

You’re Not an ATM: 5 Tips for Teaching Your Kids the Value o

You’re Not an ATM: 5 Tips for Teaching Your Kids the Value o

“Mom, can I have five bucks?” These words will be heard by all parents at some point. Every parent must decide...

 

Have A Question About This Topic?







Thank you! Oops!

Protecting Your Home Against Flood Loss

Protect yourself against the damage that your homeowners policy doesn’t cover.

Replacing Your Medicare Card

Learn how to replace your lost, stolen, or damaged Medicare card in this helpful article.

Medicare vs. Medicaid

The terms Medicare and Medicaid sound similar but are two very different things. Learn the differences in this informative article.

View all articles

What Is My Current Net Worth?

Use this calculator to estimate your net worth by adding up your assets and subtracting your liabilities.

Comparing Investments

This calculator compares the net gain of a taxable investment versus a tax-favored one.

What Is My Risk Tolerance?

This questionnaire will help determine your tolerance for investment risk.

View all calculators

Your Cash Flow Statement

A presentation about managing money: using it, saving it, and even getting credit.

5 Smart Investing Principles

Principles that can help create a portfolio designed to pursue investment goals.

Managing Your Lifestyle

Using smart management to get more of what you want and free up assets to invest.

View all presentations

Dog Bites and Homeowners Insurance

Reviewing coverage options is just one thing responsible pet parents can do to help look out for their dogs.

The Why, What and How of Life Insurance

The Why, What and How of Life Insurance

When Markets React

When markets shift, experienced investors stick to their strategy.

View all videos