Can a Surviving Spouse Use Two Estate Tax Exclusions?

The federal estate tax exclusion is the amount that can be transferred before the estate tax would become applicable. However, if you are married to an American citizen, you do not have to use any of your exclusion to transfer assets tax-free to your spouse. There is an unlimited marital deduction that allows for unlimited transfers between citizen spouses. For the remainder of the 2015 calendar year, the exact amount of the estate tax exclusion is $5.43 million, and the maximum rate of the tax is 40 percent.  In 2015, the exclusion will increase to $5.45 million while the maximum tax rate stays at 40 percent. The Matter of Portability Prior to the 2011 calendar year, the estate tax exclusion was not portable between spouses. In this context, the term portability refers to the ability of a surviving spouse to use the estate tax exclusion that was afforded to his or her deceased spouse. Many people felt as though this arrangement was unfair. After all, two individuals contributed to t


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