Informed individuals will tell you that it is important to view estate planning as an ongoing process. Since too many people procrastinate before putting a plan in place, finally doing so seems like a great relief. People feel as though the job is finally done. However, life is not static and things change that can render your existing estate plan obsolete.
Tax laws are one of the things that are subject to change on an ongoing basis, and there are some very relevant changes on the way in 2013 unless new laws are enacted in the meantime. One of these changes involves the portability of the estate tax exclusion.
The word “portability” in this context refers to the ability of a surviving spouse to use the estate tax exclusion that his or her deceased spouse was entitled to. Prior to the enactment of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 the estate tax exclusion was not portable. But provisions contained within this measure did in fact provide for portability in 2011 and 2012.
This year, the estate tax exclusion is $5.12 million per person, so a married couple would have a total of $10.24 million. Next year, the exclusion goes down to $1 million and the portability vanishes so we are looking at quite a difference in outcome.
The best way to keep abreast of all the changes that come down the pike is to keep in touch with your attorney. If you have not yet developed a working relationship with a legal professional, right now would be a good time to pick up the phone to arrange for a consultation with an experienced, savvy Oklahoma City estate planning lawyer.
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Parman & Easterday
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