Advantages of the Gallenstein Rule and How to Apply It
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The advantages of the rule that has come to be known as the Gallenstein rule1 are clear for many farm and ranch estates. That is almost a certainty for estates where real property was purchased after 1954 and before 1977 with title taken in joint tenancy or tenancy by the entirety (with that co-ownership maintained until the death of the first joint tenant to die), the joint tenant who was the first to die provided more than half of the consideration when the property was purchased and the mortgage, if any, was paid off and there would be an advantage in obtaining a higher basis at the death of the first joint tenant to die.2 However, recent discussions with some practitioners, including some who billed themselves as experts in farm and ranch estate and business planning, confirm that some are unfamiliar with the rule and reluctant to use the rule even where it would be advantageous to do so. This article discusses the rule and emphasizes how to apply the rule to an estate where the rule promises to be an advantage to the heirs in the form of a higher income tax basis for the property.