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Category Archives: Marital Matters


Big News! IRS Extends Portability Election Deadline For Estates Since 2011

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

In an unexpected move, the IRS announced in Rev. Proc. 2017-34 (June 9, 2017) that estates who failed to file an optional estate tax return (Form 706) to elect “portability” of a deceased spouse’s unused exemption (DSUE) now have until at least January 2, 2018 to file. This relief extends all the way back… Read More »


A Brief Introduction to Premarital Agreements

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

Premarital (aka prenuptial) agreements are sometimes a touchy subject (and often fodder for celebrity gossip). OK, maybe more than sometimes. I think that’s because they are often viewed as nothing more than pre-planning for divorce. But premarital agreements are often used more for estate planning purposes than anything else. Perhaps viewing a prenup as… Read More »

Blended Family

Blended Families and the Accidental Disinheritance

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

Robin Williams, Casey Kasem, Dennis Hopper, Tom Clancy, Gene Roddenberry and Audrey Hepburn. What do they all have in common? They all left blended families that found themselves in court battling each other over estate issues. These types of clashes are not unique to the rich and famous. By their very nature, blended families… Read More »

Elizabeth Banks

Ernie Banks Estate, Part 6: Surviving Spouse’s Award

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

This is the sixth in my series on various legal aspects of the Estate of Ernie Banks. You can read my first five installments here. First, and before I completely bury the lead, news broke just yesterday that Elizabeth Banks filed the anticipated Will (and Trust) Contest on July 24. You can read about… Read More »


IRS Issues Final Regulations for Estate Tax Portability Elections

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

On June 12, 2015 — nearly 3 years after issuing temporary regulations — the IRS issued spousal portability election final regulations (read TD 9725 at the Federal Register here). The final regs don’t vary significantly from the temporary regs, but they do serve as an excellent reminder that spousal portability will be permanently waived… Read More »


Unmarried Couples Have Acute Need for Estate Planning

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

I sometimes review and answer basic questions in online legal forums. Some questions are truly “off the wall”, while others are thought-provoking. The following question was recently posed in an online Q&A forum: QUESTION: A couple not married but living together for over 20 years, if one passes away does the other one have… Read More »


Illinois Same-Sex Marriage Law Now In Effect Statewide

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

On November 20, 2013, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a law legalizing same-sex marriage in Illinois. While some counties began implementing the law prior to its effective date, the law went into full effect on June 1, 2014. After several years of failing to pass similar legislation, this legislative accomplishment followed on the heels… Read More »


IRS Extends Portability Election Deadline for 2011 to 2013 Estates

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

Last week I discussed why every surviving spouse should consider filing a Federal Estate Tax Return Form 706 to elect portability of the unused portion of their spouse’s federal estate tax exemption.  I explained that in order to take advantage of portability the estate’s representative must make an affirmative election on a timely filed… Read More »

Tax Breaks

Portability: The Tax Election Every Surviving Spouse Must Consider

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

The Federal Estate Tax exemption for 2014 is $5.34 million.  This means that if a decedent’s gross estate (plus past taxable gifts) is less than $5.34 million then filing a Federal Estate Tax Return (Form 706) is not required.  However, a surviving spouse should always consider the option of electing to file a Federal… Read More »

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane /

IRS Clarifies New Same-Sex Marriage Tax Issues

By Jeffrey R. Gottlieb |

As most of you are probably aware, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in June that struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Constitutional Due Process Challenge The case, United States vs. Windsor, was an estate tax case out of New York. Thea Spyer and Edith Windsor… Read More »