It occurs to me that other than a few minor modifications to the federal estate tax rate, very little has changed with respect to the law as it existed in 2012. This means that estate tax portability is here to stay.
Portability is the term given when a surviving spouse receives a deceased spouse’s unused estate tax exemption (also know as DSUE). Whether or not portability would last under a new deal was a hotly debated topic.
For anyone who has had a spouse die in 2012 and has been waiting to see what will happen with the law, it would be highly advisable to file a federal estate tax return (Form 706) to port your spouse’s unused exemption amount. Even if the surviving spouse does not have more than $5,000,000 in assets, it does not mean that his or her assets will not grow, that he or she will not win the lottery or inherit money from a wealthy relative before passing.
Additionally, as mentioned in an earlier post on same sex couples being entitled to the unlimited marital deduction, if you are in a same sex marriage, you should also considering filing a protective Form 706 as the state of the law is in flux right now.