Tax Guru – Ker$tetter Letter

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Exclusion from Gift & Estate Taxes

Posted by taxguru on November 21, 2009


Subject: Estate Tax Exclusion

Mr. Kerstetter,
I found your writeup on estate and gift taxes via google search, and then I read your blog with great interest.
Thank you for publlishing it.
You have this text on your page:

If you do give any one person more than the $13,000 during a single calendar year, you must file a 709 and either pay gift tax or use part of your lifetime exclusion.  When you pass away, the amount of exclusion that will be available on your estate tax return (706) will be whatever the exclusion is at that time reduced by the gifts you reported on 709s during your lifetime, where you opted to offset them with part of your lifetime exclusion.  If you never used any of the credit by keeping your gifts below the annual limits, the full amount of the credit will be available to your estate

My wife and I have six children, so we’re trying to get some intelligent estate planning done. The lifetime exclusion I understand is now $3.5M.  Is this $3.5M total for the estate, or $3.5M for each heir?
Thanks for your help.



I have a chart of the annual estate tax exclusions on my website.  

For people passing away in 2009, there is an exclusion of $3.5 million of net estate value per decedent.

The lifetime exclusion on gifts is set at one million dollars.

You should be working with an estate planning professional because there are a lot of changes on the horizon; so you want to make sure any plan you set up is flexible enough to be able to handle the changes.

Good luck.

Kerry Kerstetter



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