Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA), each individual who dies during 2019 will have a lifetime exemption amount of $11,400,000. Combine this increase with the ability to utilize unused exemption amounts through portability the need to shield and defer federal estate taxes is, perhaps, no longer the primary concern of most clients. For many married couples, “traditional” estate planning prior to the enactment of the TCJA often included a last will and testament that created both a bypass/shelter trust and a marital/ QTIP trust. Using this planning technique, a testator could shield his or her estate from any estate tax liability and should a decedent’s estate exceed his or her lifetime exemption amount, any estate tax liability could be deferred via the marital/QTIP trust until the death of the surviving spouse.
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