Congress May Change the Estate Tax - What Should I Do Now?

By Richard S. Franklin

Congress is proposing modifications to the gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes.  The House of Representatives would double the estate tax exclusion to $11.2 million per person and repeal the estate tax beginning in 2025.  The Senate would double the estate tax exclusion to $11.2 million per person but without repealing the tax.  Under either approach, a married couple could protect $22.4 million from federal estate taxes.  Increasing the exclusion amount reduces the percentage of families subject to the estate tax from .02% to .01%.

What should you do if one or more of these changes occur?

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Portability - ACT NOW

By Lester B. Law

-- January 2, 2018 Deadline to Cure "Past" Missed Portability Elections!
-- Two Years from Death of Death to Make Future Portability Elections!

Revenue Procedure 2017-34, issued on June 26, 2017, provides two new forms of administrative grace, one allowing all "past" missed portability elections to be fixed and one allowing "future" missed portability elections to be fixed.  There are limits on this administrative grace, however.

The new IRS procedure allows every small estate where the portability election was missed since the date of enactment the opportunity to go back and make the election.  We cannot stress enough this new procedure's importance.

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Durable Powers of Attorney

By Richard S. Franklin and Lester B. Law

A DPOA is a device used to authorize another person (the "Agent") to manage the financial affairs of the person granting the power of attorney (the "Principal").  Without using this tool (or other similar tools), in the event that the Principal becomes incapacitated, an expensive and invasive, court-monitored guardianship proceeding may be neeed to authorize someone to act on the Principal's behalf.


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