Can portability help preserve retirement benefits?
Abstract: The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) made the estate tax exemption “portability” feature permanent. This allows a surviving spouse to take advantage of a deceased spouse’s unused federal gift and estate tax exemption. One particular area where portability may provide an advantage is in planning for retirement benefits. As this article explains, portability avoids the need for spouses to “equalize” their estates and allows a taxpayer to leave retirement benefits to his or her spouse without wasting any estate tax exemptions.