The Sunset Provision of Estate Taxes: How Much Tax Will Be Owed by the Survivors of Those Who Die in 2010?

August 1, 2010

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Although most people involved in the estate-planning industry predicted that the government would change the estate-tax laws before Dec. 31, 2009, that has not yet happened. This was in anticipation that the government would want to prevent anyone dying in 2010 from having the significant benefit of the so-called 'sunset provision' on their estate taxes. However, the current unlimited exemption means that there is basically no estate tax due for a person who dies in 2010, regardless of who they leave the money to and how much money they leave.

The plan was to provide this exemption for only one year and then have the exemption revert to the $1 million exemption in 2011, and also to raise the tax rates to approximately 55% on assets in excess of $1 million passing to anyone other than a spouse.

By means of background, over the past 10 years, the exemption for estate taxes grew from $600,000 to $3.5 million. The $3.5 million exemption was available for anyone who died in 2009, exclusive of any assets passing to a surviving spouse who was a U.S. citizen, under the terms of the unlimited marital deduction, which basically means that there is no estate tax between spouses.

However, after all of the years of rising exemptions, ...

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by: Hyman G. Darling

Healthcare News
August 2010

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