Executor Recovers Estate Tax on Life Insurance

Under I.R.C. § 2206, an executor was entitled to recover a pro-rata portion of the federal estate tax attributable to life insurance paid to the decedent’s ex-wife, as well as interest paid on the tax, when the will directed that death taxes be apportioned, and so the decedent had not “directed otherwise” for purposes of § 2206.  However, the ex-wife was not responsible for the estate tax on deferred compensation, IRAs, and other benefits because they are outside the scope of § 2206 and the provisions of the decedent’s will directing apportionment of taxes did not apply to the ex-wife because she was divorced from the decedent after the will was written.  Thomas H. Smoot III, Executor v. Dianne M. Smoot, 2015 TNT 69-13, No. 2:13-cv00040 (U.S.D.C. S.D. Ga. 3/31/2015) (applying Georgia law).

[Note:  It was alleged that Georgia has no law requiring the apportionment of estate tax, but the court found that it did not have to reach that issue.  That seems wrong considering the court’s holding that the provisions of the will were inapplicable.]

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