To preserve the portability of a deceased spouse’s exemption, you must file an estate tax return after the death of the first spouse even if you otherwise did not have to do so. The due date of the estate tax return is nine months after the decedent’s date of death.
There is a tangled web of rules and options. For any given family situation and set of desires, there is a best answer when it comes to meeting your wishes, minimizing the tax owed, and optimizing your estate plan.
It is a common assumption that your last will and testament determines who gets your stuff when you die. What you may not know is the vast majority of your assets may be transferred to others regardless of the instructions in your will.
A good estate plan is every bit as useful during your lifetime as it is at your death. No matter your age or how much (or how little) money you have, there are three essential estate planning documents you should have.