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3 Questions on the Estate Tax Exemptions

estate tax exemptionsWelcome to this month's installment of Are You an IRA Expert? Always thought you knew more than the next guy about IRAs and retirement accounts? Well now’s your chance to prove it. Below are three questions, ranging from beginner to expert. Test your IRA skills by trying to get all three right!

Answer the questions below:

Beginner: What is the current federal estate tax exemption?
Intermediate: What is portability?
Expert: How is a deceased spouse’s remaining exemption transferred to a surviving spouse?


Beginner: The current Federal estate tax exemption is $5,120,000 per person. Taxable gifts made during lifetime can reduce this total.

Intermediate: Portability is the ability for a surviving spouse to receive any of a deceased spouse’s remaining exemption. In other words, if a deceased spouse’s exemption has not been used at all, the surviving spouse can effectively have a $10,240,000 exemption.

Expert: In order to transfer a deceased spouse’s remaining life expectancy to a surviving spouse, Form 706 - an estate tax return - must be filed for the deceased spouse and an election must be made to transfer any remaining exemption. Often, if a deceased person dies without a taxable estate (typically less than $5.12 million under current law), no estate tax return is filed. In such a case, a deceased spouse’s exemption would not be transferred to the surviving spouse.

So how’d you do? Are you an IRA Expert? Unless the answer is a resounding yes, you may want to consider consulting with an advisor who has specialized knowledge and training in this area when you have these, or other IRA questions. CLICK HERE to find an educated financial advisor in your area.

-By Jeff Levine and Jared Trexler


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Thursday's Slott Report Mailbag

Consumers: Send in Your Questions to [email protected]

Can I transfer money from my IRA to my husband's Roth IRA? I am 35, and he is 36.

Thank you!

Gail Clements

No. The only way your IRA funds can be transferred to your husband’s IRA is in a divorce or after your death. Even then, it would have to be transferred to a similar IRA, for example an IRA to IRA or a Roth IRA to another Roth IRA. In this case, you cannot transfer your IRA into your husband’s Roth IRA.