As the current federal estate/gift tax law is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2012, this is an opportune time to take advantage of the planning techniques available under current law and to avoid being subject to newly proposed restrictions. Potential low asset valuations and interest rates due to the challenged economy further enhance this period's unique planning potential by allowing assets to be gifted at a lower tax value.

By way of background, until the end of 2012, the federal estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer ("GST") tax exemption is currently set at an all-time high of $5,120,000 (or $10,240,000 per couple) and the top marginal tax rate is at a low of 35 percent.

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