If you have been following the vicissitudes of the estate tax field, it may come as no surprise that having a skilled, informed lawyer can be very beneficial. If you haven’t been following it, you may be shocked to find out how much complexity there is trying to get a handle on estate tax planning issues.
For example, in 2010 only, there was no estate tax. In other words, it was a good year to die if you had wealth to transfer, providing you liked or loved your family members. It was back in 2001 when President Bush signed a law intended to phase out the death tax.
In case this intention to drop the death tax permanently appears too radical to bear, consider that Australia did it in 1979. Some research seemed to show an increase in the number of deaths right after it was abolished, meaning wealth transfers to heirs were no longer taxable and therefore much more favorable to those who inherited it.
In the U.S. in 2010, when there was a very noticeable absence of a death tax, it was reported that Congress was “incentivizing” death. A cynical view, because how many family members want their relatives to die on a certain date, just for the sake of getting some more money? This would imply money is all wealthy families care about.
Most families would view the death of a loved one as a difficult time, emotionally and otherwise. Therefore, a competent estate planning attorney will be essential in helping families navigate the uncertainty that surrounds this event.