I'm not well versed on this - only prepare 1040's - no estates, trusts etc. and do not generally get involved in estate planning issues.

at a recent tax seminar it was discussed that people who had not filed an estate tax return for a deceased spouse (because they were otherwise not required to do so) had not claimed the portable exemption of the deceased spouse - but have until 12-31-17 to do this .

I've had an elderly couple with a joint estate of about 2 million. husband passed away in June of 2013. no type of estate returns were apparently filed.

the surviving wife is now about 92 & in poor health (she has been in and out of hospice). her estate is currently less than 2 million and she has begun to consume significant amounts of it due to her ongoing need for in-home long term care with no LTC insurance as her policy's limits have been paid out.

no one knows what her investments might grow to be worth in her remaining lifetime but given her situation, age & that the estate exemption for her alone seems to be more than 5 million, I was wondering if anyone thought it a good idea for the wife (filing as her late husband's executor) to go thru the bother and expense of filing an estate return (prior to 12-31-17) for her deceased husband, in order to claim the portability of his unused estate exemption.