Portability refers to the ability of a surviving spouse, to make use of a deceased spouse’s unused estate tax exclusion amount (DSUE amount).  Portability was intended to simplify estate planning for married couples by eliminating the need for a bypass trust.  However, in order to preserve the DSUE amount the surviving spouse must comply with a complex set of rules, including filing a federal estate tax return for the decedent even though one would not otherwise be required.  Portability is not a substitute for traditional estate planning, particularly for high net worth individuals. However, it may prevent an otherwise unused DSUE amount from being completely lost.
Continue Reading Portability of the Estate and Gift Tax Exclusion – How Does it Work?