How Georgia women can use or protect their tax dowry

In our last post we discussed the federal estate tax exclusions that Georgia women can take advantage of. Everyone is entitled to a $5 million federal estate tax exclusion, but this amount can be shifted between spouses. This $5 million tax exclusion is not just for transfers of wealth upon a person's death however.

The exclusion can also be used for lifetime gifts and can be transferred freely between spouses. Therefore even if a Georgia woman has substantially less assets than her husband, she brings a "tax dowry" into the marriage which consists of the $5 million exclusion.

An experienced estate planning attorney should be consulted before a spouse signs away his or her exclusion. Signing away an exclusion can impact the amount of marital funds available for the less wealthy spouse and this can also deplete the less wealthy spouse's exclusion. A less wealthy spouse may sign away an exclusion and find that the wealthier spouse gave away substantial tax free gifts to children from a previous marriage.

When a spouse considers signing away his or her exclusion, the attorney that is consulted should be independent and not hired by the other spouse. Using an attorney hired by a spouse raises potentially problematic conflict of interest issues because it may not be in a spouse's best interest to give away his or her exclusion for another spouse's lifetime gift giving.

To avoid conflict of interest issues, an attorney will likely draft an engagement letter for each spouse which indicates the extent of the attorney's representation and confidentiality clause which indicates whether the attorney will share statements from one spouse with the other spouse.

Source: Forbes, "Estate Planning For Women (And the Men Who Love Them)" Deborah Jacobs, 5/19/11

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Mr. Teiger, Thank you very much for your time and results. I will definitely recommend you & your firm to anyone who wants to be treated professionally courteously and needs results.Hope all is well.Again...thank you. Regards, Paul L.

msg iconEmail Us For a Response

When you have legal questions or concerns, contact our team at Teiger Law Center, P.C., by calling 678-374-7645, 800-780-2275 or reach us via email by completing our online contact form. From our Cumming and Alpharetta law offices, we represent clients in the Atlanta metro and throughout north Georgia.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Cumming Office
514 West Maple Street
Suite 101
Cumming, GA 30040

Toll Free: 866-726-2153
Phone: 678-374-7645
Fax: 770-406-8858
Cumming Law Office Map

Alpharetta Office
12600 Deerfield Parkway, Suite 100
Alpharetta, GA 30004

Toll Free: 800-780-2275
Phone: 678-374-7645
Fax: 770-406-8858
Map & Directions