Is portability here to stay? Along with all the other estate tax rules in the new law, this provision is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2012. Unless portability proves completely unworkable though, Congress is likely to renew it because the new system simply makes it easier to accomplish something that many couples have been doing anyway. But we might expect some refinements or clarifications to be necessary as the law gets applied in real life.

This article is reprinted with permission from Deborah L. Jacobs, a lawyer and journalist, is the author of Estate Planning Smarts: A Practical, User-Friendly, Action-Oriented Guide (DJWorking Unlimited, 2009). An update to the book, on how the new tax law affects your estate plan, can be downloaded from the Web site


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