Tag Archives: Congress

Democrats Divided Over Future of Estate Tax

One tax element overlooked in the negotiations over the “fiscal cliff” is how Congress and the President will resolve the future of the estate tax. The Wall Street Journal reports that several Democratic senators from conservative states will not embrace President Obama’s plan to raise the estate tax.  Under current law, the estate tax exemption amount will be lowered to $1 million with a 55% tax rate starting January 2013. President Obama proposes to return the estate tax exemption amount to $3.5 million with a 45% rate, the same terms as 2009.

Senator LandrieuSenator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Max Baucus of Montana, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas said they would prefer not to raise the estate tax.  This week, Ms. Landrieu took a very strong position by stating that she would oppose any deficit-reduction package that raises the estate tax. One common element among Landrieu, Baucus, and Pryor is their party affiliation, another more important aspect is that all three are up for re-election in 2014.  The three are diverging from the Democratic party’s position to endorse a position likely favored by their conservative constituents.

Republican lawmakers continue to support estate tax repeal altogether.  At the very least, the Republican leaders expect a continuation of the Bush-era tax cuts which would maintain the estate tax exemption at $5 million and a 35% tax rate.  Under the current policy, the Tax Policy Center estimates that $161 billion of tax revenue will be generated over the next 10 years.  Under President Obama’s proposal, $276 billion would be raised.  Considering the highly-charged political climate, we may not have a resolution to the future of the estate tax in the near future.

Estate Planning Awareness Week

October 17-23, 2011 has been designated by Congress as National Estate Planning Awareness Week.  Some estimate that as many as 120 million Americans do not have up-to-date estate plans and long term financial strategies to protect themselves or their families in the event of sickness, accidents, or untimely death.  The purpose of National Estate Planning Awareness Week is to encourage consumers to address these issues before they have a chance to negatively impact their daily lives.   Estate planning can include many different areas such as: retirement planning, asset protection planning, beneficiary designations, tax planning, planning for children, taking precautions to  address the risk of future disability, insurance planning, and more.

Locally, several charities are sponsoring a free workshop series titled, “It’s Your Estate.”  The workshops are designed to educate the public in the consumer financial arena and help them take charge of their own money and estate.  Jason C. Morris, Esq.will present on the Advanced Estate Planning topic the week of October 11th – 13th.  Mr. Morris will present at S. Valleys Library, 15650 Wedge Parkway, on October 11 at 2 p.m.  On October 12th, Mr. Morris will present at the North Valley Library, 1075 N. Hills Blvd #340 at 2 p.m.  Thursday, October 13th, Mr. Morris will present at the Sparks Library, 1125 12th Street, at 11:00 a.m. and offer another presentation at the Northwest Reno Library, 2325 Robb Drive, at 2:30 p.m.

For reservations or questions, call the Community Foundation of Western Nevada at 775.333.5499.