Update On Proposed Changes To Federal Estate Tax Law

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Current Federal Estate Tax Law

Summer has given way to fall, and Congress has returned from its August recess. In addition to facing other substantial initiatives, it has less than three months to address federal estate tax law. Current federal estate tax law provides each individual dying in 2009 with a $3.5 million federal estate tax exemption and establishes a maximum federal estate tax rate of 45 percent. If Congress does not act prior to January 1, 2010, the federal estate tax temporarily would expire for 2010—each individual dying in 2010 would have an unlimited federal estate tax exemption for that year. However, this expiration would be short-lived—after 2010, the maximum federal estate tax exemption is scheduled to return to $1 million, and the maximum federal estate tax rate will return to 55 percent.

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