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Important Estate Tax Law Changes Now in Effect

January 29, 2010

Authors: James T. Betts, Coleman H. Casey, Danielle P. Ferrucci, Stephen K. Gellman, Bryon W. Harmon, Lori E. Romano, Lyn Gammill Walker

As of January 1, 2010, the federal estate tax has been temporarily repealed. The temporary elimination of the estate tax has created a great deal of uncertainty. Although many believe that Congress will reinstate the estate tax retroactive to January 1, we cannot be certain this will be the case. Until Congress acts, we expect you may be asking, "What, if anything, should I do?"

For many, a "wait and see" approach makes sense. However, we recommend that the following categories of clients contact us to discuss changes that should be incorporated into their estate plans:

*You believe your spouse or you may not survive the year.
*For married couples, you leave an amount tied to the federal estate tax exemption to beneficiaries other than your spouse (e.g., your Family Trust, or Trust B, benefits your children but not your spouse).
*You leave assets to charitable beneficiaries based on a formula which refers to the federal estate tax exemption.
*Even if you do not fall within one of the above categories, if you have questions or concerns or would like to take this opportunity to review your estate plan, please contact one of us.
A summary of the state of the current transfer tax law as of the date of this update follows.

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