Court: Estate, not heirs, responsible for taxes - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Court: Estate, not heirs, responsible for taxes

MADISON (AP) -- The Wisconsin Supreme Court says estates -- not those who receive money from them -- are responsible for paying state and federal estate taxes.

The court ruled in favor of Jessica Schleis, who was 17 when she inherited more than $3 million from her deceased godfather, James Sheppard.

Sheppard's estate filed a lawsuit to require Schleis to pay all federal and state estate taxes generated by the two "payable on death" accounts she received.

The estate argued Schleis would receive a windfall at the expense of other heirs if she wasn't required to pay the taxes as it originally envisioned.

But writing for a unanimous court, Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson says it's clear the estate is responsible for the tax liabilities under state and federal law.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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