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Investing Specialists

What Changes in the Estate Tax Mean for You

Don't let 2010's estate-tax oddities affect your plan.

Even in normal times, estate planning is a complicated topic. And these are not normal times.

When the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA) of 2001 eliminated the federal estate tax for 2010, there were jokes that this would be a good year for wealthy folks to die.

Now that we're here, however, the repeal of the estate tax doesn't appear to be all that it was cracked up to be. For one thing, it's far from certain that the estate tax will, in fact, be repealed for 2010. Many tax pundits think Congress will take action to reinstate it within the next few months, and if that happens, the new estate tax policy could be retroactive to Jan. 1 of this year. Moreover, even if estate-tax repeal stands for 2010, that doesn't mean everyone gets off scot-free. The current rules regarding cost basis have the potential to create huge headaches for the loved ones of individuals who die with assets above a certain level.

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