2011 Estate and Gift Tax Update

The Tax Relief Act of 2010, passed by Congress in the waning days of the December, 2010, increased the federal estate tax exemption to $5,000,000. However, an equally significant aspect of the new law is the unification of the federal gift and estate tax exemptions. Both exemptions will now be $5,000,000 in 2011, with an adjustment for inflation thereafter. Thus, clients who utilized their $1,000,000 gift tax exemption in prior years will now be able to make up to $4,000,000 of additional tax-free gifts during 2011 and 2012. It should be noted that the gift tax exemption utilized during a client’s life will reduce the available estate tax exemption available upon death.