How Can I Leave My Estate to My Spouse Tax-Free?

The process of estate planning can be complicated for high net worth individuals. You have to be vigilant if you want to protect the assets that you have been able to accumulate, because the federal estate tax can have a very significant impact on your legacy. There is a federal estate tax exclusion or credit. This is the amount that you can transfer before the estate tax would become applicable. For the rest of the 2014 calendar year, the estate tax exclusion is $5.34 million. An inflation adjustment will be applied in 2015 that will bring the amount of the exclusion up to $5.43 million. Marital Deduction You do not have to use any of your exclusion to leave a tax-free bequest to your spouse. There is an unlimited marital deduction, and this allows you to leave any amount of property to your spouse free of taxation, as long as your spouse is an American citizen. The American citizenship requirement is in place to prevent a surviving spouse from returning to his or her country of citi


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