Friday, December 18, 2009

Still No News on the Estate Tax Front

As this week comes to a close, the buzz among estate planners is what Congress has NOT done so far. Time is running out and the ability to fix the unthinkable is dissipating quickly. The unthinkable is that beginning January 1 we will see the elimination of the estate and GST taxes, coupled with the introduction of carryover basis for people who die in 2010. This means that because of the repeal of the estate and GST tax (which only the wealthiest of 2% of the population pays), Congress had to do something else to replace this loss of revenue. Their answer was to do away with the "stepped-up" basis rules and to institute a modified carry over basis for assets that one inherits. This means that starting in 2010 everyone will now pay increased income taxes to offset the tax revenue lost from the Estate and GST tax!

The House is scheduled to recess for the holidays on December 18 and the Senate is focused on health care reform. This is a true dilemma for the estate planning community is that we still don't know what to tell clients to do at this point in time? But on other fronts........

Trademark infringement is a serious matter. A recent case filed in St. Louis however is proving to be the butt of some jokes. For an interesting (and I thought humorous) read check out the following ABA article here.

Health care reform has targeted savings from electronic record keeping as a way to save costs. But the implications of that are staggering. Some are now pointing out the loss of privacy and the exposure of confidential health information. See E-health records.

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