Gift, Estate and GST Exemptions and Tax Rates: In 2011 and 2012, the gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax exemptions are all $5 million and the tax rate is 35%. If Congress does not act again, in 2013 the exemption will be $1 million and the top tax rate will be 55%. This is the current law and must be considered in all planning. The portability of the gift and estate tax exemption between spouses was also introduced, but only for spouses who both die between January 1, 2011,and December 31, 2012.

Reuters Tax & Accounting – The big news for estate planners in the U.S. tax legislation passed last year isn’t the $5 million estate-tax exemption — though that number is far higher than expected — it’s the $5 million lifetime gift-tax exclusion. That is so much higher than it has been historically, and provides so many opportunities for estate planning for the ultra-rich, that planners for high-net-worth clients are salivating. “I don’t think anybody in Congress realized this,” said Michael Gooen, a tax and estate attorney at Lowenstein Sandler. The point is that not only will the $5 million estate-tax exemption ($10 million for a couple) remove the vast majority of formerly taxable estates from the estate tax, but rather that the higher gift-tax exclusion means that people with far larger estates than that — think $50 million, $100 million, and up — have the ability to shift assets out of their estates tax-free while they’re alive. “You are going to see a flurry of estate planning,” Gooen said.
By Amy Feldman, Feb 28, 2011 Reuters

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