TRA created a new concept commonly referred to as portability that endeavors to simplify the estate tax system by avoiding the need for families to undertake complex planning to maximize the use of both spouses’ exclusions. Under prior law the couple might have divided assets 50/50 and had each will include a bypass trust to benefit the surviving spouse while still avoiding inclusion of those assets in the surviving spouse’s estate. Under TRA if your spouse dies with none of this planning on your later death you may be able to utilize your prior deceased spouse’s unused estate tax exclusion.
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