Monthly Archives: November 2009

The Federal Estate Tax

Pay attention to the House of Representatives this week! It appears our government is getting ready to decide how to change the current federal estate tax laws over the next couple of weeks.

Will the House of Representatives recommend the 2009 $3.5 million federal estate tax exemption allowance become the permanent allowance starting in the year 2010? Or, will something different be recommended?

If the existing $3.5 million exemption becomes a permanent estate tax allowance, a married couple could use an A/B trust and pass $7.5 million to their heirs free of federal estate tax. Very few estates would be subject to any federal estate tax.

It may become more important to watch what the estate tax laws are in a particular state..and figure out what state not to die in. As the amount of the federal estate exemption allowance has grown from $1 million to $3.5 million over the last several years, some states have not have changed their inheritance or state estate tax laws. For some, the choice of residence may impact the amount of estate taxes due when someone dies.

A recent New York Times article listed 12 states that have some type of estate tax/inheritance tax.

I know someone who experienced the costly impact of New Jersey state inheritance tax laws. I’ve heard her say time and time again…”DON’T HAVE YOU PARENTS DIE IN NEW JERSEY!!!”

Stay tuned. We’ll be watching what is happening in Congress.. and keep you up to date on the latest developments.

Why doesn’t death cancel a subscription?

If you have an elderly or incapacitated relative who would like a new service or subscription, be sure to put it in their name, NOT yours. Request “user” access so you can pay the bills but don’t put the account(s) in your name. If you do, you may be sorry.A recent AARP magazine article told a story about a man who had moved into an assisted living facility. His niece’s husband ordered Dish Network for him. Shortly thereafter he died but the contract lived on. If it had been in the name of the deceased, it could have been canceled. Most companies that sell subscriptions are willing to cancel them upon the death of the account holder. However, since the contract was in the name of a living person, Dish refused to cancel it. It was only through the efforts of an AARP advocate that the problem was finally resolved.

For more information on planning for old age go to

What does the health care bill mean for you?

Yes, the proposed health care reform bill is 2,000 pages long.   Yes, Nancy Pelosi expects Congress to vote on this bill this weekend.

If you’ve been wondering what’s in it for you, this article in the Wall Street Journal turns the bill into language mere mortals can understand.’s_Most_Popular

Of special interest is the language regarding Medicare…and the lack of any language regarding who pays for long term care.