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Update on the Estate Tax

It appears there may be some light at the end of the tunnel for the estate tax. After being bogged down by Congress’s inaction regarding the estate tax law sunset, practitioners are now getting clearer pictures of what they can expect.

The current tax bill recently passed by the Senate creates an estate tax exemption of $5,000,000 and lowers the tax rate to 35%. Obviously, this would be slated to go into effect as of January 1, 2011. What does this mean for estates of decedents who passed away in 2010?

The current consensus seems to indicate that persons dying in 2010, or rather their personal representatives/executors, will have the option of utilizing either the 2010 law or the 2011 law. Should this option actually come to fruition, expect a blog highlighting the benefits and pitfalls of the different laws.