What it is:
How it works (Example):
The marital deduction is also known as the unlimited marital deduction.
The IRS treats a married couple as one economic entity. Estate tax is imposed only upon the demise of that economic entity. The marital deduction from the estate tax due is allowed upon the death of either husband or wife, as long as the spouse is a US citizen.
Upon the death of the surviving spouse, the entire remaining estate is taxed. Certain tax planning strategies are available to minimize this total effect.