WHO SHOULD I NAME AS EXECUTOR?

Choice of executor (sometimes known as “personal representative”) can be the most important part of your will.

In general, most married couples name the surviving spouse as executor. The more difficult choice is the executor upon the death of the surviving spouse. In a harmonious family, one or more of the children is usually a prudent choice. Which one? All things being equal, a child living nearby is a better choice than one living 1,000 miles away. Continue reading

“PORTABILITY” OF $5M FEDERAL ESTATE TAX EXCLUSION

Each spouse’s $5 million federal estate tax exclusion is now “portable,” meaning that the portion of the exemption not used by the first spouse to die is added to the exclusion of the surviving spouse. See Internal Revenue Code Section 2010(c) and IRS Notice 2011-82. Thus, for example, if all of the decedent’s wealth passes to the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse’s exclusion at death will be $10 million, rather than just $5 million. With only modest planning, a married couple can now pass $10 million of wealth to their children without any federal estate tax.
Continue reading