Q: My brother had his will drafted in 1999. In this will, all of his property was left to a certain friend of his. However, several years later, he added me and our sister to his certificate of deposits.
A: Generally, jointly held property (joint tenants with right of survivorship) goes to the surviving tenants and does not go into the estate. Therefore, if your brother made you and the sister joint tenants with him on the CD’, when he passes, you and your sister own the CD’s and they do not go into the estate nor to the “certain person” listed in the will. If the transfer of the CD’s was done within a year of death, they are fully taxable with a $3,000.00 exclusion. If made beyond one year prior to death, the surviving tenants only pay inheritance tax on the deceased tenant’s share. Thus if you, your brother and your sister are joint tenants with right of survivorship, then inheritance tax is only due on one-third of the assets.