2010 Estates: To Elect or Not to Elect

Posted December 31st, 2010

Did Congress finally settle the estate tax confusion when it passed the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (Tax Relief Act) on December 16? Although the estate tax treatment of estates of decedents dying in 2011 and 2012 is crystal clear, most of our clients will outlive the current estate tax regime, and we will be stuck in the same spot we were for the last half of 2010, wondering what the next year holds.

And what about the estates of decedents dying in 2010? Under the Tax Relief Act, estates of decedents dying in 2010 have a choice. They can elect to have the estate subjected to an estate tax regime with an exclusion amount of $5,000,000 (unified credit of $1,730,000) and an estate tax rate of 35 percent. Beneficiaries of these estates will receive the benefit of the stepped-up basis rules applicable prior to 2010.  Read this complete article at AdvisorFX (sign up for a free trial subscription with full access to all of the planning libraries and client presentations if you are not already a subscriber).

For previous coverage of Obama’s tax agreement, including its estate tax provisions, in Advisor’s Journal, see Obama Tax Agreement Faces Stiff Resistance in Congress (CC 10-112) and Obama Tax Agreement Passed by House (CC 10-117).

For in-depth analysis of the estate tax, see Estate, Gift and GST Taxes.

We invite your questions and comments by posting them or by calling the Panel of Experts.

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