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Melissa Cover Selinger

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Estate Planning Window of Opportunity

The current estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exemptions are $5 million per taxpayer for the remainder of 2011 and 2012. The top tax rate for estate, gift and GST transfers is a mere 35 percent through 2012. Federal law also includes "portability," which means that a surviving spouse of any individual who dies in 2011 or 2012 may "use up" any amount of the deceased spouse's unused $5 million estate tax exemption by making larger lifetime gifts during this window.

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