Back in December 2010 there was a much reported flurry of work done on changes to the US Tax laws. One of the big changes was to increase the amount an individuals could pass free of estate or gift (“transfer”) taxes. The changes made it possible to pass during $5,000,000 you life or at death (or combination thereof) without paying either of the transfer taxes. This “exemption amount” was substantially more than in prior years. (The amount is adjusted for inflation and is $5,120,000 for 2012.) Additionally, the then new law made it possible for spouses to share this amount so that a surviving spouse could use any unused portion of a predeceased spouses $5,000,000.
This new exemption equivalent, along with the continued annual $13,000 annual exclusion, now made it possible for business owners and families with highly appreciated assets or businesses to pass substantial wealth to their families transfer tax free. That is not to say only people with more than $10,000,000 can benefit, but everyone with more than $1,000,000 in estate taxable items may find advantages. (more…)