Tax bite from selling Mom's home?

Defer capital gains hit with 1031 exchange

DEAR BENNY: After my father-in-law passed away, my husband’s mother moved to be near us and bought a home, eventually putting it in my husband’s name. She passed away four years ago and my husband has not sold the home. We are a few years away from retirement. Would it be better to wait until his income is lower to sell or sell now? We really don’t know what to do and I think my husband worries about the big tax bill he will get. –Irene

DEAR IRENE: I suggest you discuss the tax situation with your financial advisors. I cannot advise you or even speculate on what your tax bill might be if and when you sell the property. You have to determine what the tax basis of the property was on the date your mother-in-law died, and (depending on what state you live in) you may be eligible for what is known as the "stepped-up" basis — i.e., the value of the property on the date of death. (Note: For 2010 only, this concept is not applicable unless Congress changes its mind.)