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Federal estate tax law takes effect

January 5, 2011

New tax changes went into effect Jan. 1 that include a 35 percent estate tax rate as well as a $5 million per person and $10 million per couple exemption.

The last-minute lame duck congressional changes in December came as a surprise for many estate planning and wealth transfer attorneys, who predicted that either lawmakers would allow the Bush-era tax cuts to lapse or that the 2009 rate would have continued so that the first $3.5 million was tax free and anything more than that was taxed at 45 percent.

These changes are only in place for two years, and there is no guarantee that these tax cuts will be in place after Dec. 31, 2012.

Rehearing "Death and tax uncertainty" IL Nov. 24-Dec. 7, 2010

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