8/8/2017: Tell Your Clients It’s Not Too Late for a Portability Election

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Tell Your Clients It’s Not Too Late for a Portability Election

New Opportunity for Late Portability Just

Opened Up by IRS

Portability has brought both convenience

and confusion to the estate planning

community. Available for surviving spouses

after 2011, portability allows an unused

estate tax exemption to be transferred

from a deceased spouse to his or her

surviving spouse.

While this sounds like an appealing

prospect to look into for your clients, it has

come with its fair share of hassle thanks to

ever-shifting policies and narrow windows

of time in which to take action. Taking

advantage of portability has been harder in

practice than was anticipated.

IRS Revenue Procedure 2017-34

Previously, surviving spouses had a mere 15 months (9 months plus a 6-month automatic

extension) in which to elect portability after the death of their partner. As you know, your

clients are only human: The experience of losing a spouse is always a trying one, and their

priorities are rarely focused on legal and financial matters in the year following such a huge life

event. It’s all too easy to go past the deadline, especially if an estate tax return is not required

by the IRS.

But this summer, the IRS has amended the way the portability deadline works. Now is the

perfect time to share this good news with your clients and save them potentially hundreds of

thousands of dollars in taxes in the long run. Here are the significant developments put forth by

this new IRS procedure, which was just announced on June 26, 2017:


Condie & Adams, PLLC

611 4th Avenue, Suite A

Kirkland WA 98033


Condie & Adams, PLLC is a

values-driven law firm

committed to providing

individuals, families and small businesses

with personalized, client-centered legal

services in estate planning, probate and

trust administration, tax planning, and

related legal matters.

Late filing relief: Executor spouses can now file a late portability election until January 2,

2018, for spouses who have passed away any time after 2011. This is a significant opportunity,

but you and your clients must act quickly to take advantage of it. Previously, those who didn’t

elect portability were left with the unappealing option of trying for a private letter ruling to try

to get it. This revenue procedure makes late filing possible for a much greater spectrum of

clients. There are, of course, some qualifying criteria, so please give us a call to discuss any

specific clients you think might benefit.

Increased time to act: Whereas surviving spouses previously had 15 months to elect

portability, they now have two full years. The IRS deadline is either January 2, 2018, or two years

after the death of the spouse, whichever is later.

What else does this mean for my clients’ estate plans?

Not only could this new procedure save significant taxes upon the death of the surviving spouse

— but it could also open up estate planning opportunities that might otherwise not be available.

For example, a surviving spouse may make a significant lifetime gift using the added exemption

and avoid paying gift taxes.

This development simplifies elections for portability for those who were late and not otherwise

required to file an estate tax return (i.e. those with estates less than $5 million, as adjusted each

year). But, the “classic” 15-month rule still applies for clients whose estates contain over $5.49


Any client who lost a spouse since portability came into effect after 2011 should at least look at

whether it makes sense to file a “late” estate tax return now. The time for relief is limited. Does

this situation affect any of your clients? Now is the time to share the good news with them,

collaborate with us, and help your clients achieve their estate planning and wealth preservation


This newsletter is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as written advice about a

Federal tax matter. Readers should consult with their own professional advisors to evaluate or pursue tax,

accounting, financial, or legal planning strategies.

You have received this newsletter because I believe you will find its content valuable. Please feel free to Contact Me if you have any

questions about this or any matters relating to estate planning.

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Condie & Adams, PLLC 611 4th Avenue, Suite A Kirkland WA 98033

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