In general, property held until death receives a new income tax basis equal to fair market value at death, the value of property as of the alternate valuation date or special use value in the case of land where that election is made. This is particularly advantageous in farm estates because raised animals and grain with a zero income tax basis receive a higher basis and consequent elimination of gain and the basis of machinery and equipment and farmland often is adjusted upward at death. However, for some assets the basis adjustment rule has a negative effect as a potential loss prior to death is eliminated as basis is adjusted downward as a result of death.
Harl, Neil E.
"Income in Respect of Decedent,"
Agricultural Law Digest: Vol. 1
, Article 1.
Available at: http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/aglawdigest/vol1/iss14/1