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I am married and our house when sold will net about $400,000 in profit. We have lived here for 30 years. If I die before the house is sold, does my spouse lose the $250,000 exemption for me?

Starting in tax year 2008, an unmarried surviving spouse who hasn't remarried typically may qualify to exclude from income as much as $500,000 of the gain from the sale of the principal home, as long as the sale occurs no later than two years after the date of the other spouse's death. But this rule applies only if the couple would have met the qualifications for the $500,000 exclusion immediately before the spouse's death. See IRS Publication 523 for more information.