Wright Abshire, Attorneys, A Professional Corporation
Houston: 713-660-9595
The Woodlands: 936-273-2773
Fayette County: 979-278-4095

How changes to the law affect portability

Texas residents may have heard of some changes to estate planning law that went into effect at the beginning of 2013, and they may wonder how the changes could affect them. The American Tax Relief Act of 2012 was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama on Jan. 2. One of the most important provisions of this new law is that it takes temporary portability between spouses and makes it permanent. Understanding portability can be essential to estate planning.

Portability was created by the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010. It allows a spouse who dies without using the full estate tax exclusion to transfer remaining amounts to the surviving spouse, who can then add the remaining amount to his or her own exclusion amounts. The amount that is transferred is called the "deceased spouse unused exclusion amount." The unused exclusion amount can be used to reduce the deceased spouse's estate tax liability.

For example, assume that a husband died in 2011 with an unused exclusion amount of $4 million. His estate elects to transfer that $4 million to his wife. If she dies in 2013, when the exclusion amount is $5.25 million, that amount is added to the $4 million. The wife may be able to exclude $9.25 million of her estate from being taxed upon her death.

A local estate law attorney may be able to assist couples in determining whether to exercise portability or whether to give away gifts during life to reduce the amount of their estates. The attorney may be able to explain the difference between gift taxes and estate taxes. That information can be used to help a person determine the best way to structure an estate plan.

Source: Forbes, "Estate Tax Portability - New Paradigm For Estate Planning", Lewis Saret, July 20, 2013

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

We Believe in Client Satisfaction Here is what our clients say about our hands-on approach to elder law and estate planning.

  • Thank you for your caring expression of sympathy. But more importantly, I want you to know how much your warmth as human beings has been palpably present in all the social and business intercourse we have experienced with you. Your willingness to allow yourselves to be completely human as you ply your trade adds a dimension to your professional stature which is unparalleled by most of your profession. Please don't change. You stand head and shoulders above the crowd. - L.T
  • Everyone in the firm was extremely cordial, courteous and professional, which made our family feel at ease knowing that our needs would be expertly managed. - R.L.
  • Everyone I came in contact with were kind and helpful. They were so professional as well as personable. I loved them. - J.B.
  • Very helpful in a family time of need. Excellent staff and service. After dealing with the State I have no idea how anyone could take this journey without the law firm's services. - L.N.
  • The firm did all things especially well. I was always impressed by the competent manner in which everyone worked and was confident that it would be "mission accomplished..." – J.T.
  • No detail was overlooked. Everything went very well. We feel so fortunate that your firm is well informed, capable and willing to do so much for us. I can't thank you enough for everything! - N.C.
Learn More
Email Us for a Response

Have a question about elder law in Texas? We can help. Schedule A Consultation Now

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

"The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form."

Contact Our Texas Elder Law Attorneys Today We have 3 locations to better serve you. Contact our office closest to you.

Bellaire Office
4949 Bissonnet Street
Bellaire, TX 77401

Phone: 713-660-9595
Fax: 713-660-8889
Bellaire Law Office Map

Bellaire Office

The Woodlands Office
3117 College Park Drive, Suite 240
The Woodlands, TX 77384

Phone: 936-273-2773
Fax: 713-660-8889
The Woodlands Law Office Map

The Woodlands Office

Carmine Office
1055 Deer Haven Road
Carmine, TX 78932

Phone: 979-278-4095
Fax: 713-660-8889
Carmine Law Office Map

Carmine Office
Back To Top