Estate and Elder Law

Tax Act's Portability Feature Lets Surviving Spouse Use Predeceased Spouse's Estate Tax Exemption

The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act (the "2010 Act") enacted a "portability" feature; it lets a surviving spouse take advantage of any unused estate tax exemption of a predeceased spouse.  (2010 Act §303.)  That opportunity means that an estate tax return must be filed in order to capture the amount of the first spouse's unused exemption. (A return might not otherwise be required if the predeceased spouse's gross estate is under $5 million in value.) This feature will expire at the end of 2012 unless extended by legislation. ....