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IRS Posts Final Form 706 and Instructions

Update: The IRS has now posted the final Instructions for the Form 706 for decedents dying in 2012, which can be found here.

The IRS has posted the final Form 706 for decedents dying in 2012, which can be found here.  However, final Instructions have not yet been posted.  Our discussion of the current Draft Instructions can be found here, but until the final Instructions have been released, they cannot be relied upon.

Summary of New Provisions in IRS Draft Instructions for Form 706 for Decedents Dying in 2012

As we told you last week, the IRS recently released Draft Instructions for Form 706 for decedents dying in 2012, which can be found here. If you don’t feel like reading all 52 pages yourself, here are some of the highlights:

• The new Form 706 includes a new Part 6—Portability of Deceased Spousal Unused Exclusion (DSUE). This new Part 6 allows the taxpayer to (1) opt out of electing to transfer the decedent’s DSUE to his or her surviving spouse, (2) calculate the amount of DSUE that can be transferred to the surviving spouse if so elected, and/or (3) account for any DSUE amount received by the decedent from his or her predeceased spouse.

Searching for Guidance Regarding Making a Portability Election?

In Notice 2011-82, 2011-42 IRB 516, 09/26/2011 the Service reiterated much of the instructions on portability addressed informally in the Instructions for Form 706 for 2011 decedents. The Form 706 Instructions contain detailed instructions for dealing with making the election to allow the surviving spouse to use the predeceased spouse’s unused exclusion amount and for computing the maximum unified credit amount on the death of the surviving spouse.

The instructions for Form 706 state that the executor will be considered to have made the predeceased spouse’s unused exclusion election by filing a “timely and complete Form 706.” There will be no need to check a box on the return. This has again been reaffirmed in Notice 2011-82. The use of the word “complete” in the instructions lead most practitioners to conclude that the Service is looking for a 706 with all the information that would be

Diversification And The Prudent Investor Rule


We get asked a lot about two categories of cases: (1) cases about discretionary distributions; and (2) cases about concentrations and diversification. And, it’s easy to understand why – fiduciaries are often given a great amount of discretion in exercising their duties, but then may get sued over it. While there seems to be a growing number of decisions dealing with matters like undue influence and lack of capacity, the numbers of authorities regarding the exercise of discretionary powers and diversification/concentrations are still limited.

That’s why when an opinion like that of the Illinois Court of Appeals in Carter v. Carter comes along, we have to take notice. In this case, the court considered a breach of fiduciary duty claim arising from the trustee’s alleged strategy of investing only in tax-free municipal bonds. The appellate court determined that this strategy did not violate the prudent

Administering an Estate for the First Spouse of a Married Couple to Pass Away in 2011 or 2012

If you are administering an estate for the first spouse of a married couple to pass away in 2011 or 2012, you should consider whether or not to make a “portability election” under Section 2010(c)(5)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Section 2010(c), as recently amended, generally allows a surviving spouse of a U.S. citizen decedent who passes away in 2011 or 2012 to use the decedent’s unused Federal estate tax exclusion amount in addition to the surviving spouse’s own basic Federal estate tax exclusion amount. This eliminates the need for spouses to re-title property and/or create trusts solely to take advantage of each spouse’s full basic Federal estate tax exclusion amount.

Under the current tax law, a person’s applicable Federal estate tax exclusion amount is the sum of (1) the basic Federal estate tax exclusion amount (currently, $5,000,000 minus any taxable lifetime gifts) and (2) in the case of a