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My mom was in assisted living before she passed in 2011. My brother and I inherited an annuity, split 50/50. The nursing home was owed $15,000 at the time of her death, and we are both currently pitching in all of our income from the annuity to pay off this debt. Is there some way we can deduct this amount from our taxes?

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Thank you for all your input, everyone! This is so tough because my brother is in ill health and otherwise impaired. The assisted living center had told him he could pay what he was able, which he was doing from her one remaining annuity, until my mom died. Next thing I knew, they had turned him over to a collection agency which insisted he signed papers. I've been pressing him to get them to prove to him that he signed such papers, but since the collectors threatened to ruin his credit, he is resigned to paying them and basically ignores my pleas. Our mom took great pains to see to it that everything was settled for us and divided up her estate before her death. She gave her car to my nephew, my brother has had the house for 10 years, (he made payments on it in the form of paying for her rent while she was still independent) and what furniture was left was divided among us after her death, as this was her desire. The rest went to charity. I am concerned about filing her final tax return as my brother really will have a hard time coming up with the needed papers and is overwhelmed by the prospect. I'm the eldest, but I live several hundred miles away and my brother still lived close to my mom and has whatever paperwork exists, in places he is not sure of. Thanks for listening!.
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I agree with jeannegibbs - you don't always inherit debts. But you do need to see how the contract was originally signed at the assisted living. They NEED to produce a copy for you to examine, don't just go on their word - you need a copy of the contract immediately. I signed contracts for my mom as her Power of Attorney - I signed my name as POA for my mom's name. Elder law attorney said it was basically her signature that way and by doing so no way could creditors come after me. However, if I just signed my name to a contract - different story, I could be legally responsible and thus would be required to pay any bills. That was also confirmed by the social workers and administrators I dealt with. I made sure I didn't sign my name alone to ANYTHING. And renata; even though there is no "real estate" there is still an "estate", which would involve ANY of her possessions, (furniture, car), bank accounts, annunities, cds, etc. Please keep us all updated on your progress and Good Luck!
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You may have inherited an annuity, but you don't inherit debts. I'd ask to see the contract your brother signed, and if it isn't clear to you, take it to a lawyer.

I agree that if your brother is legally liable for that $15,000, you should split it with him. But first I would find out your exact legal position. Creditors will always press to get paid from anyone who can be pressured into it. If you owe it contractually, pay it. But you don't owe it out of your own pocket just because she was your mother.
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P.S. There was no will - mostly, she had personally given us small possessions she wanted us to have before she died. The assisted living center said my brother signed a contract that he would be responsible for leftover expenses. I'm not so sure because he is not so sure. They were pretty much bullied into paying these expenses, mostly because they didn't want to leave the home holding the bag, so to speak. And I can't leave my brother and his wife to handle this alone, either. Thanks so much for any insight you can offer!
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Her lawyer told my brother that because she had no real estate any longer, there is "no estate." Therefore, no estate from which to pay debts - the only thing left was that annuity. Her other annuities were run through to pay the assisted living before her death, and her only other income was SS.
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Whoa, wait! That's not a tax question so much as an estate question. What matters is how her will was set up to handle her debts, which are usually paid before the other heirs get anything. Check more carefully with the attorney who handled the will (or another): it's possible that the debt should have been paid off in full already or that you may not need to pay it at all.
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