Rarely do our blog postings and articles come under the category of urgent. But, if you have an estate in excess of $1 million dollars (including life insurance), then you might need to review this immediately.
The failure of Congress to act on the issue of the end of the federal estate tax has caused an estate planning debacle for Americans that is both complicated and involves risk in either taking a wait and see or an early action strategy.
In other words, since the tax appears headed for an automatic disappearance at 12:00 on December 31st, but might be reenacted after the Congressional holiday break, there is no perfectly clear choice of action.
Thanks to Congress, any decision you make could end up being a problem. However, you need to consider your options before the end of the year and in 2010. And many people need to consider wills that use disclaimers or QTIP (Qualified Terminable Interest Property) trusts rather than outright gifts to spouses or the traditional federal estate tax formula trusts.
Why? Many wills which are drafted to deal with federal estate tax issues have formula clauses that might no longer make sense but may work again if congress reenacts the estate tax after January 1, 2010. Planners simply did not believe that the tax would ever really disappear and clients could not tolerate plans that tried to deal with every possible eventuality because of the complexity involved.
For example, many wills carve out a portion of the estate to go into a generation skipping trust. That is, a trust that goes to children or grandchildren at some point, or is for their use. However, if there is no generation skipping transfer what happens to those funds?
There are also complications for state death tax planning caused by the elimination of the tax. Not only did Americans generally, and their tax advisers believe that this was unlikely, but so did the states. In Pennsylvania, this is less of a problem than in other states, but there are still consequences to consider when using trusts (either created during lifetime, or under wills).
No one really thought that the federal government would ever let this happen, especially, in light of the federal deficit, but it appears to be a real possibility if not the most likely scenario. And, we are not the only ones who think that this failure of Congress created a big mess. See Forbes article on the estate tax mess. So how do you get the information that you need?
Call your estate planning attorney at least for a conference call. And, if your will or trust, has federal estate tax planning provisions, then be sure to review it promptly.
Our Telephone Strategy Telephone Seminars:
For our clients who are reading this, or for you if you want to become a client of the firm, we know it is the holiday season, but we are scheduling telephone seminars on some of these issues in light of the last few days. There will be two different calls. The first is for those who have estates of under 3.5 million dollars. The second will be for those with estates of 3.5 million or above. These calls will brief you on your options and what needs attention right away, and what can wait and you can enjoy them from your home or office just by calling in to the number we provide you.
Our Limited Emergency Update Plan Option:
Also, for our clients, or prospective clients, who want to act now to protect your estate but worry that you might be revising them again, we are currently offering you our Emergency Estate Plan Update (TM) which includes the opportunity to revise and update your plans right now, and pre-arranged small additional fee if revisions are required if Congress acts next year.
So, you can get the coverage and updates you need now without worrying about being recharged the full price for another round of revisions. Preference for these Update Plan appointments is given to existing clients and their are a limited number of such appointments available in December and January.
How To Get Information:
There are three ways to get more information on these calls, or our Emergency Estate Update Plan: 1) leave a comment below, 2) call 610-933-8069, or 3)email firstname.lastname@example.org and put “telephone seminar” in the subject line. We will let you know when the schedule is set. For an Update Plan appointment, simply call Donna, Denise or Beth at 610-933-8069.
Please Get Us You Updated email Information:
We will also be sending client emails on these important issue so make sure that you call the office and give Donna, Denise, or Beth your current email address. You can give them your email address by phone at 610-933-8069 or by email at email@example.com.
Enjoy your holidays.
David M. Frees III, Esquire HIGHEST AVVO RATED
Douglas L. Kaune, Esquire HIGHLY AVVO RATED
P.S. The Emergency Update Plan appointments are limited so please book yours today if you are worried about this confusion or if you feel that your plan is out of date. The plan’s prices start at $600.00 and go up from there depending on your plan and it’s complexity. There is no charge for the additional appointment. And, at the end of the appointment you are quoted a flat fee and a fee to be paid only if another round of revisions is required. We hope that this helps you. Update Plan appointments can be made by calling 610-933-8069.