New Portability Provision Should be Considered with Caution

A new “Portability Provision” in The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Jobs Creation Act of 2010 has some couples excited about the financial possibilities. As explained in this article in the Wall Street Journal, the new portability provision “permits surviving spouses to elect to use the unused portion of the estate tax applicable exclusion amount of their predeceased spouses. This provides the surviving spouse with a larger exclusion amount and allows married couples to transfer a collective $10 million estate.”

The new provision may seem like a boon, but the author of the article advises caution for a few reasons: “First, portability may encourage procrastination rather than planning; second, complications emerge with GST taxes, remarriages, and state exclusions; and third, the temporary nature of the act and the unpredictability of Congress make for uncertainty in estate planning for the future.”

Our readers will know that there are a number of planning tools and opportunities that crop up over the years; this new portability provision is certainly one of them. Our readers will also know that none of these tools will necessarily be the “silver bullet” of estate planning. The fact is that estate planning is like anything else—to do it right and to do it effectively requires intelligence and research; a dedication of time and resources. Most families simply don’t have the time or the resources to devote to researching every new “perfect planning tool” that crops up promising to save your family money.

This is why our firm is here; it is our business to research the best planning tools for your family. We listen to your goals; we take into account your financial history and your current status. We help you create the plan that works best for you. If you think that this portability provision—or any other strategy you’ve heard about—might be your “silver bullet”, please call our office for an appointment. We can give you the resources and information you need to make an educated and effective plan for your family.

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