Estates Passing on Unused Exclusion to Surviving Spouse Must File Form

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IRS issues guidance (Notice 2011-82) reminding estates of married individuals dying after 2010 that executors must file an estate tax return to pass along the unused estate and gift tax exclusion amount to the surviving spouse. Available for the first time this year, the new portability election allows estates of married taxpayers to pass along the unused part of their exclusion amount, normally $5 million in 2011, to their surviving spouse, IRS says in a statement. The provision was enacted last December to eliminate the need for spouses to retitle property and create trusts solely to take full advantage of each spouse's exclusion amount.