What Surviving Spouses Need to Know About Portability


Have you updated your estate plan since 2021 or 2022? Even just a matter of one year can mean that your estate plan is outdated, which is why it helps to have a relationship with an attorney you can trust.

Significant IRS changes in estate tax rules were announced a few years ago that might influence your current plan. These are important for surviving spouses to understand. This is a good move for surviving spouses because the guidance makes it easier for eligible spouses to claim their deceased partner’s unused estate tax exemption. This process is known as portability.

The move will provide significant financial relief and make the estate planning process even easier for many families. Up until this point, the process for transferring a deceased spouse’s untapped estate tax exemption was filled with documentation and deadline requirements.

Prior to this rule change, survivors had a maximum of nine months to file for portability, which could be extended on request an additional six months. This also required a complicated estate tax return with exact figures and appraisals for transferring unused exemptions, and that could have ended up as high as over $12 million for deaths that happened in 2022.

However, the filing period has since been extended for five years from the spouse’s date of death, which significantly reduces the pressure and things on the to-do list for grieving and surviving family members.

Valuations no longer have to be exact since figures can be rounded to the nearest $250,000. In order to ensure you’ve undertaken the right steps for appropriate planning on behalf of your surviving spouse, it is valuable to work with an experienced estate planning attorney.

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