Inherited stocks and capital gains


Q: I am just about to retire from the FBI, where I’ve worked for 30 years. My parents left me a stock portfolio which dates back several decades. I would like, after retiring, to find and purchase a home using the stock portfolio, which is held in a trust my parents set up for me. I have never purchased a house, and I am wondering if there is any way to get around the capital gains taxes that probably would eat up huge chunks of the value of the stock portfolio once I liquidate most of the stocks to purchase the residence.

A: You should consult a certified public accountant or other qualified tax adviser for specific advice, but I can tell you that, unless you inherited the appreciated property (investment securities) in 2010, your basis in these securities is likely their value around the time they were inherited, so the taxable gain that existed up to that point is erased. If you inherited the stocks in 2010, a different set of rules apply (so far) and you may have inherited the basis, along with the securities.


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Mike Miles is a Certified Financial Planner licensee and principal adviser for Variplan LLC, an independent fiduciary in Vienna, Virginia. Email your financial questions to and view his blog at

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