Estate Tax Planning

4 Credits: Taxes


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Estate Tax Planning

Course Level
CPE Credits

4 Credits: Taxes

Course Description

Estate tax planning is a critical yet complex aspect of financial management, often fraught with intricate legal considerations and profound financial implications. Estate Tax Planning is a self-study CPE course designed to navigate these complexities, offering a deep dive into the history, structure, and strategic approaches to managing estate tax liabilities. Starting with the origins of estate taxation in English common law, the course comprehensively covers topics such as estate administration, federal gift and estate taxes, estate planning trusts, and the nuances of federal and state taxation. It also provides detailed guidance on calculating federal estate taxes and explores effective methods for estate tax payment. This course is an essential tool for professionals seeking to develop expertise in estate tax planning, ensuring they can provide informed, strategic advice in this crucial area.


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Learning Objectives

After completing this course, you will be able to:

Chapter 1

  • Explain the differences between the probate estate and the federal gross estate;
  • Identify the components of a decedent’s probate estate;
  • Describe the assets that comprise a decedent’s federal gross estate; and
  • Explain the duties of an executor or administrator of a decedent’s estate.

Chapter 2

  • Identify the principal estate tax provisions of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 (2010 Tax Act) and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (2012 Tax Act);
  • Describe how the current annual gift tax exclusion permits the tax-free transfer of property ownership;
  • List the deductions allowed in calculating the federal estate tax liability;
  • Define the estate tax unified credit and its exemption equivalent; and
  • Explain how the portability provision operates to reduce federal estate tax liability.

Chapter 3

  • Describe how a credit shelter trust works to reduce federal estate tax liability in suitable estates;
  • List the client estate planning objectives met through a qualified terminable interest (QTIP) trust; and
  • Explain how an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) facilitates the use of life insurance to pay estate tax and settlement costs without increasing the federal gross estate.

Chapter 4

  • Identify the components of the federal gross estate;
  • List the deductions that may be taken from the federal gross estateto arrive at the tentative taxable estate;
  • Explain how state estate taxes are accounted for in calculating the federal estate tax liability;
  • Calculate the value of adjusted taxable gifts that must be added to a decedent’s taxable estate;
  • Describe the use of the estate tax unified credit, the credit on prior transfers and the foreign death tax credit in determining federal estate tax liability; and
  • Calculate the federal estate tax liability under various estate tax fact patterns.

Chapter 5

  • Describe the principal differences between state estate taxes and inheritance taxes;
  • Identify the factors that affect the amount of state inheritance tax liability; and
  • Explain how the familial relationship of a beneficiary to a decedent determines the applicable inheritance tax class.

Chapter 6

  • Describe the four methods generally available for payment of estate settlement costs;
  • Identify the factors that need to be considered when evaluating the relative effectiveness of the various methods of paying estate settlement costs;
  • Determine the parties that should normally own life insurance when designed to be used solely to pay estate settlement costs; and
  • Explain how life insurance death benefit proceeds payable to an irrevocable life insurance trust are used by a decedent’s estate to pay estate taxes and settlement costs.
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Course Specifics

Course ID
Revision Date
April 5, 2023

There are no prerequisites.

Advanced Preparation


Number of Pages

Compliance Information

NASBA Provider Number: 103220
IRS Provider Number: 0MYXB
IRS Course Number: 0MYXB-T-02339-23-S
IRS Federal Tax Law Credits: 4
CTEC Provider Number: 2071
CTEC Course Number: 2071-CE-1907
CTEC Federal Tax Law Credits: 4

CFP Notice: Not all courses that qualify for CFP® credit are registered by Western CPE. If a course does not have a CFP registration number in the compliance section, the continuing education will need to be individually reported with the CFP Board. For more information on the reporting process, required documentation, processing fee, etc., contact the CFP Board. CFP Professionals must take each course in it’s entirety, the CFP Board DOES NOT accept partial credits for courses.

CTEC Notice: California Tax Education Council DOES NOT allow partial credit, course must be taken in entirety. Western CPE has been approved by the California Tax Education Council to offer continuing education courses that count as credit towards the annual “continuing education” requirement imposed by the State of California for CTEC Registered Tax Preparers. A listing of additional requirements to register as a tax preparer may be obtained by contacting CTEC at P.O. Box 2890, Sacramento, CA, 95812-2890, by phone toll-free at (877) 850-2832, or on the Internet at

Meet The Experts

Paul J. Winn

Paul J. Winn CLU ChFC is a writer with more than 30 years experience in the life insurance and securities industry as an agent/registered representative, an agency head, a marketing vice president for a life insurance company and the president of a corporate registered investment adviser. He was a long serving member of the advisory board to the New York State insurance department. He is a published book author and creator of more than 200 taxation, insurance and securities training courses.