Estate and Gift Tax Quick Facts

January 2, 2024

Lifetime Exclusion Limits

In 2024, your lifetime gift and estate planning tax exemption is $13.61 million.1 Starting in 2026, that amount is expected to be cut in half, so it’s a good idea to take advantage of it now as a way to transfer wealth to heirs and favorite charities free of federal taxes. Note that any amounts you transfer or gift over the lifetime exemption amount will be taxed.

Unlimited Marital Deduction

If you are married, an unlimited marital deduction allows you to leave all or part of your assets to your surviving spouse free of federal estate tax. But to use your late spouse’s unused estate tax exemption, referred to as portability, you must elect it on the estate tax return of the first spouse to die, even when no tax is due. If you don’t elect portability, you could incur a federal estate tax bill.

Gift Tax Exclusion

You can give annual gifts without being taxed. In 2024, the annual gift tax exclusion is $18,000 for individuals and $36,000 for married couples.2

For example, if you and your spouse give an annual gift of $50,000 to a specific individual in 2024, of that gifted amount, $36,000 will be a tax-exempt gift and $14,000 will count toward your lifetime gift exemption amount. Even after you surpass the lifetime exemption, you can still give up to the annual gift exclusion amount without paying gift tax.

Phased Out Lifetime Exclusion Amount

When the federal lifetime gift and estate planning tax exemption expires at the end of 2025, it’s expected to revert back to pre-2018 exemption of $5 million per individual and that amount will be adjusted for inflation.

Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax

Additionally, a generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax applies when you gift money and assets to grandchildren or to any unrelated person who is at least 37½ years younger than you. The GST tax is meant to discourage an individual from passing assets directly to a grandchild to avoid paying the estate tax twice (once when passing to a child and then again when they pass it to their child). The generation-skipping tax exemption is the same as the annual and lifetime gift tax exclusion.

Review Your Estate Plan

If it’s been a few years since you’ve reviewed your estate plan, or you’ve experienced a life change, such as divorce or loss of a spouse, review your estate plan with your attorney and wealth advisor to update your documents.

Talk to Your Wealth Team

At Mariner, our estate planning and trust services team are in-house. They can work with you, your wealth advisor and attorney to advise you on tax-efficient estate planning.

Tax Guide 2022

Tax Guide: Your Resource for Year-Round Tax-Efficient Investing

Year-round planning with an advisor could help improve your overall wealth plan. Find out more by downloading our tax guide.


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