The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced the official estate and gift tax limits for 2019: The estate and gift tax exemption is $11.4 million per individual. This is an increase from the 2018 exemption of $11.18 million. Individuals can leave $11.4 million to heirs and not pay any federal estate or gift tax. Married couples can leave $22.8 million to heirs with no federal estate or gift tax.
The 2019 exemption is a huge jump from just ten years ago when the exemption was $3.5 million per individual. Or even twenty years ago when it was $650,000! Because the exemption used to be much lower, individuals and couples utilized various estate planning tools in an effort to reduce any gift tax owed. However, now, with the exemption being so much higher, some of these estate planning tools may no longer be necessary. It would be a good idea, then, to review your estate plan and make sure it's still benefiting you and your family.
In addition, the 2019 tax rates for trusts and estates have changed as well:
Always consult with a CPA if you are in charge of a person's estate or trust (called the Personal Representative or Trustee). Personal Representatives and Trustees are responsible for filing any final income tax returns for the decedent and income tax returns for the estate or Trust.
Source: Forbes IRS Announces 2019 Tax Rates, Standard Deduction Amounts and More by Kelly Phillips Erb and IRS Announces Higher 2019 Estate and Gift Tax Limits by Ashlea Ebeling