The other important component of the estate tax is the maximum tax rate. The highest tax rate for 2013 will be 40%. While this is an increase from 35% for 2012, it would have been raised back up to 55% had Congress not acted.
SINCE January 2006, A law blog (BLAWG) for professionals and the general public in Ohio regarding estate planning, trust and probate law.
There is no estate tax liability for assets passing from a deceased spouse to the surviving spouse. Both Ohio and federal provide for an unlimited marital deduction for the transfer of property between spouses. This is based upon the view that the husband and wife are one economic unit.
The marital deduction applies to transfers during lifetime and at death. The deduction is only for
Technically, the marital deduction simply defers the estate tax and does not avoid it. While an outright bequest of decedent’s entire estate to a spouse will eliminate estate tax at the decedent’s death, the surviving spouse’s estate will be taxed on all of the assets transferred from decedent (that is unless the surviving spouse consumes or gifts away the assets). As a consequence, the marital deduction simply defers the tax to the second estate.
We are already Mid-November and nothing has happened legislatively regarding the federal estate tax exemption. Although the Generation-Skipping Transfer (GST) Tax is independent of the federal estate tax, legislative changes to the exemption amounts would likely occur at the same time. Since 2004, the GST exemption equaled the estate tax applicable exclusion amount. In 2009, the GST exemption was $3,500,000. In 2010, the GST was repealed, and in 2011 the tax will be back with an exemption amount of $1,060,000,indexed for inflation.
The GST tax is imposed on asset transfers to "skip persons". "Skip persons" are generally grandchildren and later descendants of the donor, if the donor's child, who is the parent of the donee is living.
The government's concern of generation-skipping transfers is best shown by example.
Rich Guy-àGuy's son-àGuy's grandson-àGuy's great grandson
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First Estate Second Estate Third Estate
In the normal case, you would have 3 separate estates from which the government could tax. However, where Rich Guy's estate is placed in trust with son and grandson having right to income with principal going to great grandson, Rich Guy gets similar result and 2 generations of estate tax skipped.
Will the federal government act in the short term to change the GST exemption amount or will it go back to its 2001 level?