Effective for decedents dying after July 9, 2013, there is a new inheritance tax exemption for qualified family-owned businesses. The law provides: "A transfer of a qualified family-owned business interest to one or more transferees is exempt from inheritance tax, if the qualified family-owned business interest . . . .continues to be owned by a qualified transferee for a minimum of seven years after the decedent's date of death."
A new 3.8% surtax on certain investment income starts January 1, 2013, as part of the health care reform legislation. It applies to net investment income of higher-income individuals. The 3.8% surtax is in addition to your regular income tax, and it is also in addition to any alternative minimum tax.
The question of what a surviving spouse inherits from a deceased spouse is a complicated one. The answer is the typical lawyer's response, "It depends." Some scenarios can help to illustrate the issues. To keep the examples simple, I am going to assume that the husband dies before the wife - forgive me, all you husbands out there.
Here is a new one on me:
In addition to grief, loss, and loneliness, widows and widowers are faced with many practical problems. There are arrangements to be made, financial matters to deal with, and children to care for, just to name a few. The death of a spouse is a time when the surviving spouse will need love and support. The survivor also will be bombarded with advice, suggestions, demands, fears, and concerns. Here is a guide to help you through this difficult time.
Where do you keep your original will? Some folks keep their wills in a "fireproof" box in their desk, or under their bed. At your peril, I say. The metal box may not burn but it makes a fine little oven.