Estate Planning in the Future - Did the Presidential Election Really Change Anything? By Heidi L. G. Orr


As I write this article on a beautiful, sunny October afternoon in Seattle, the United States is only four weeks away from the next presidential election. When this article is published in December 2008, we will know the identity of the next president of the United States. At some point thereafter, we should have a sense of what will happen with the federal estate tax system.

Every individual has a credit available to offset estate taxes. In 2009, the federal credit, which is currently $2,000,000 per person ($4,000,000 for married couples), will increase to $3,500,000 per person ($7,000,000 for married couples), with a top tax rate of 45 percent. The federal estate tax is scheduled to be repealed in 2010. In 2011, the federal estate tax scheme will revert to the tax rates and credit amounts that were in effect in 2001. At this point, everyone agrees that the federal estate tax will not be repealed, but no one quite knows what the federal estate tax system will be in the future.

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