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marital deduction

n. an estate tax deduction allowed a surviving spouse of half of the value of the estate of the deceased spouse. Thus, the minimum value of the estate before there is a possible federal estate tax rises from $600,000 (the level where estate tax begins to be calculated and charged) to $1,200,000 at the death of the first spouse to die. In trusts which a married couple creates, they can agree that on the death of the first to go, the amount of the property which is given to the survivor is limited to the amount which will not be subject to federal estate tax, thus delaying some or all estate tax until the death of the surviving spouse. Such trust provisions should be written only by an attorney and with consultation with an accountant or financial adviser.

See also: community property  estate tax  trust 

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