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Can I deduct the legal fees for the costs to initiate and conduct a formal contested estate trial?

My wife was a named beneficiary in her father's Will and passed in 2012. The designated executor of his Will was her brother. This was a modest estate and typically the informal state probate process should have been completed within 18 months. However after waiting five (5) years with no significant progress being made and a statement from her brother (executor) that he was going to distribute the estate as he wanted and not as specified by the Will my wife hired attorneys in January 2018 to file a formal protest and to ask the court to remove her brother as the executor. The formal case was conducted in Arizona Superior Court and involved considerable legal fees.

Can these legal expenses be deductible on a federal tax return?


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Unfortunately, not anymore. 

These types of legal fees were deductible through 2017. However, they were eliminated as part of the tax law changes last year. 

For more information, see pages 4 and 5 of the following: Misc Deductions 2018

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