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Pozzuolo Rodden, PC, Philadelphia Estate Planning Attorneys, Are Pleased to Announce the Release of the Article "Hot Topics in Estate Planning- 2013"
Date:7/20/2013

the top estate tax rate would have been 55% with an exclusion amount of only $1 million, indexed for inflation. The practical effects of the Act are significant. If the Act had not been passed, a person dying with a $2 million taxable estate could potentially have to pay over a $1 million in estate taxes on the estate.

     The American Taxpayer Relief Act also provides for “portability” between spouses. In other words, the estate of the first to die spouse may make a portability election to permit the surviving spouse to use the first to die spouse’s unused estate tax exclusion amount on the surviving spouse’s estate. The practical effect of this is to increase the surviving spouse’s estate’s exclusion amount to potentially $10 million. Without enactment of the Act, portability would not be available. This could be problematic for those couples near the threshold of the estate tax exclusion in that while individually, neither of their estates was large enough to trigger taxes, but when coupled together, the value of the estate would cross the tax threshold. Thus, when the first spouse dies and leaves everything to the other spouse, the other spouse’s estate would potentially have to pay taxes on the accumulated estate.

     B. Gift Tax. Similar to its effect on the estate tax, the American Taxpayer Relief Act set the maximum federal gift tax rate at 40%. The Act also includes a $5 million dollar lifetime gift tax exclusion which is adjusted for inflation. Thus, a person still may gift up to $5 million (or more) tax free during his lifetime.

     C. Generation Skipping Transfer Tax. The American Taxpayer Relief Act set the maximum federal generation skipping transfer tax rate at 40%. The Act also includes a $5 million dollar lifetime generation skipping transfer tax exclusion which is adjusted for inflation. The generation skipping transfer tax usually applies when a person makes
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