The Tax Relief Act of 2010 introduced the concept of “portability” to estate tax planning. Portability allows a surviving spouse to use their predeceased spouse’s unused federal estate tax exclusion amount.
The current $5,120,000 gift and estate tax exemption is set to expire on December 31, 2012. With time running out as the year winds down, Tarter Krinsky & Drogin has counseled clients about making gifts of securities portfolios, business interests and art work to their descendants or to trusts for their descendants’ benefit before year-end.
I have been practicing law for over 25 years, but I am still shocked when I hear that a person who spent so much time, effort, and money in a divorce proceeding has not taken the time to confer with an attorney and sign a will. (For purposes of this article the client will be a deceased female with an ex-spouse who is a male.)
When the ball drops in Times Square this coming New Year's Eve, your heir’s inheritance could very well go down with it, straight into the federal government’s coffers. The generous estate tax planning opportunity that Congress has given taxpayers is set to expire on December 31st, and it's unlikely Congress will extend it. If Congress does not act, the current combined federal gift and estate tax exemption of $5,120,000 will revert to $1,000,000.
When going through a divorce, there are almost no limits to the number of personal, financial and logistical issues the soon-to-be former spouses must confront. One issue that sometimes falls throughthe cracks is the need to create and execute a new will to reflect post-divorce realities. Too often, though, the task of changing a will is put on the back burner; sometimes, until too late.
As federal law stands now, the estate tax will expire at the end of 2009 and there will be no tax in 2010, but the tax will return in 2011. Congress is expected to take action so that an estate tax will continue without interruption in 2010, but there may be changes to the estate tax rules. In changing or extending the estate tax, Congress may curtail or disallow certain tax-saving techniques. In addition, the current economic environment provides opportunities for significant estate and gift tax savings.