Friday, November 14, 2008

Will my love for you die in 2010?

The 2001 tax act repealed the estate tax for one year, 2010. In the intervening years, the amount exempt from estate tax has steadily risen. This year it will be 2.5 million and next year $3.5 million. The tax rate is currently 45%. It will vanish for a year and come back 2011 with $1 million exemption and 55% maximum tax rate that applied before 2001.

A few wealthy families have lobbied hard for a total repeal, but insurance and estate planning interests are against it. Politicians, have hedged their bets.

Now, however, now we have a tax code that creates an incentive for heirs in late 2010 to off their aging benefactor.

President-elect Obama has called for a permanent 3.5 million exemption and a rate close to 45%.

If the law passes, people in that wealth bracket will need to review their plans to make sure they take advantage of the increased exemption in 2009, and for whatever congress does going forward.

If congress doesn't act, it's time to think hard about health care and appoint a trusted person to take care of your medical decisions, if you can't.

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