Tax Law

Steinbrenner’s 2010 Death May Have Saved His Heirs About $600M

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner may have saved his heirs as much as $600 million in estate taxes by dying in 2010.

The estate tax expired in 2009, and a new one doesn’t take effect until 2011, when heirs will be taxed at a top rate of 55 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) and the Associated Press. Steinbrenner’s net worth has been estimated at $1.15 billion, and dying in 2010 rather than 2011 could amount to a $600 million savings for his heirs, the Wall Street Journal says.

“Born on the Fourth of July, George Steinbrenner left the world stage with a great sense of timing too,” AP says.

There may be efforts in Congress to pass a retroactive extension of the 2009 estate tax of 45 percent. According to the Wall Street Journal, experts believe a retroactive law would be constitutional, but it would be subject to court challenges that could result in years-long litigation.

The Wall Street Journal says Steinbrenner’s estate may be less than his net worth since some of the money may be in trusts and tax-exempt foundations. TaxProf Blog adds that Steinbrenner is survived by his wife, and a marital deduction likely would have applied if he had died in 2009 or 2011.

Related coverage: “Billionaire Dies at a Fortuitous Time”

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