When talking about the estate tax exemption limit, elder law attorneys often discuss two different numbers. They mention the individual exemption amount and the married couple exemption amount, which is double the individual number.
The reason they do this, is because of the spousal election.
When one spouse passes away, the surviving spouse can take what is called a spousal election which will give them the married couple’s exemption limit when they pass away. It can be complicated. However, it effectively means that the estate of the first spouse does not pay any estate tax.
The surviving spouse inherits almost everything and gets a double exemption when he or she passes away. However, there is also another benefit to the spousal election that the NAEPC Journal of Estate & Tax Planning discussed in “Forget “Must Love Dogs” — Go with “Must Love DSUE” or the Portability Election: Simplified Late Election Relief.”
The details can get a little complicated, but the idea is relatively simple.
If the first spouse who passes away does not have a large enough estate to have had to pay the estate tax, then there is an unused portion of the exemption limit leftover. The surviving spouse can take advantage of that. However, it is also available for anyone the surviving spouse might marry later.
Some people are apparently even advertising that they have this deceased spousal unused exclusion available on dating sites.
If you did not take a spousal portability election when your spouse passed away and would like to now, there is a simple way to do so. However, there is a limited amount of time, so visit an elder law attorney immediately.
Reference: NAEPC Journal of Estate & Tax Planning (Oct. 2017) “Forget “Must Love Dogs” — Go with “Must Love DSUE” or the Portability Election: Simplified Late Election Relief.”
“On the threshold of retirement, we finally decided to quit thinking we could self-prepare the requisite documents. We had previously had only a very simple will. We needed the necessary legal (including updated will) & health care docs but didn’t want to deal with the time & complication of legalese. Cindy made the process relatively painless. She took the time to explain and answer questions without trying to upsell services. We were done in 2 meetings plus the reading of emailed drafts. In addition to preparing the documents, Nelson Eldercare will be there when our adult children need advice on executing the plans we’ve put in place.So glad it’s behind us and would recommend Cindy and her helpful staff.”
Cindy and her company treat their clients like family. Nelson’s offers clear, direct, and honest guidance in planning for your families security and future. No one wants to actively sit down and make these decisions, but Nelson’s makes this process seamless. I was so impressed with their willingness to answer all questions big or small. So glad I made the decision have them help my mom and dad and now me. You can’t go wrong with Nelson’s Elder Care Law.
The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!
I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.
Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.