The Uncertain Future of the Estate Tax Law

The question on every estate planning attorney’s mind (and on the minds of our clients) is what will happen to the estate tax next year?  There
is less than a week left before the estate tax expires, and I have lost hope that our representatives in Washington will actually reach a resolution before the last day of the year.

In our prior blog posting, I had mentioned that the House recently voted
not to let the estate tax expire, but instead to let it continue
indefinitely at the current rate. Unfortunately the legislation has yet
to make it through the Senate, and holding our breath for a decision on the estate tax before year’s end isn’t recommended.

issue that estate planners are most concerned about at this time is not
actually what the final decision will be (although that certainly is
important), but how long it will take our government representatives to
reach that decision. It is generally assumed that any decision reached
in 2010 regarding the estate tax will be retroactive, which means that
any estates opened next year before the decision is made
might at some point have to pay estate taxes retroactively. The
possibility of retroactive estate taxes means that holding off on your
estate planning until after the legislation has passed is not as wise a
decision as you may think.

We know our lawmakers have a lot to think about as 2010 approaches, but so do you—the taxpayers.  Make it your New Year resolution to update your estate plan, and keeping one step ahead in the