Steve Jobs Heirs May Not Pay $867 Million in Capital Gains Taxes

Steve Jobs’ heirs, whoever they may be, are finding themselves in a favorable position regarding US inheritance laws. According to law, the $6.78 billion of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Disney (NYSE:DIS) stock in Jobs’ estate may be inherited without having to pay taxes on the sum, saving the recipients $867 million in capital gains taxes. The 35% in taxes wouldn’t have to be paid until the recipient passed away or gave it away according to estate planners.

Proxy statements show that Jobs’ shifted many of his assets over to his trust as his health deteriorated. The contents of Jobs’ will have not been disclosed. Most investment advisors would advise the heirs to go ahead and sell the stock holding. Bloomberg quoted Kacy Gott, chief planning officer at the wealth-management firm Aspiriant, who said, “I can’t see any reason not to sell all of it. They should have been looking to diversify years ago.”

Though the heirs will be able to avoid estate taxes, the sale of the shares would still be subject to capital gains taxes. The tax currently stands at 15%, but will increase to 20% in 2013.

High-income Americans will also be assessed a 3.8% tax on unearned gains. John Barcal, an estate attorney and associate professor at USC’s Leventhal School of Accounting, commented, “I don’t know if his wife is a co-trustee or if it’s a bank, but a bank would be duty-bound to diversify the holdings.”