Joint Accounts and the Estate Tax

Dear Liza: If I have all of my $ assets (savings accounts, money market s, IRA’ stock)) in joint accounts with my children, (excluding real estate) will these funds be exempt from any inheritance taxes upon my demise? Nope. Your children will inherit those assets from you as the surviving joint tenants, without having to go through probate. But all of the value of each asset will be in your taxable estate for estate tax purposes, unless your children can prove that they made contributions to those accounts. If they are owners in name only (which is quite common between parents and children) it’s all taxed to you.