Change Is In the Air for Estate Tax Law

It was Benjamin Franklin who said, in the late 1700s, that “in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes”; but in 2008 nothing is less certain than death taxes, a situation that the U.S. Senate is trying to remedy.

In 2001, President George W. Bush introduced a tax cut that would gradually reduce estate taxes (sometimes called death taxes) until they were eliminated altogether in 2010. The relief was only meant to be temporary though, and unless change is instituted the tax rates in 2011 will revert back to their 2001 levels.

According to, the Senate Finance Committee is looking to reform the estate tax law before 2011. The problem is that estate tax reform is fraught with conflict, with politicians on either side not even able to agree on what to call it (“estate tax” vs. “death tax”).

The one thing we can be sure of, from a historical perspective, is that the issue is not likely to be solidified any time soon. This means that the best thing you can do is prepare for any possibility in your own estate plan.  As an estate planning attorneys, our job is to keep abreast of all the changes in estate tax law, and we can help insure that your estate will be passed on to your beneficiaries the way you want it to be, regardless of what the winds of change in Washington may bring.