The inauguration of Barack Obama is only days away, and many people are curious (to say the least) about what his presidency has in store. We all know there are changes ahead; some you may be looking forward to, and others about which you may be apprehensive. If you’re looking right now with an interested eye to the future, you’re not the only one.
The Wall Street Journal, for example, followed Monday’s news story “Obama Plans To Keep Estate Tax” with a strong opinion piece entitled “Estates Of Pain.” As you may be able to guess from the title, the author has some critical points to make about the decision of Congress and the President-elect to keep the estate tax.
The points with which our firm is most concerned are the ones that will have an impact on our clients, and which seem to be the timeless effects of the estate tax in general:
The Journal points out that “the death tax strikes most heavily at small- and medium-sized family-owned businesses that generate the majority of new American jobs.”
The article also cites a 2006 Joint Economic Committee (JEC) study that says “family-run firms and farms particularly feel the pinch of the estate tax, because they are less likely to have the liquid resources needed to meet their estate tax liabilities.”
That same study concludes that estate tax “liabilities depend on the skill of the estate planner, rather than on capacity to pay.”
That last one bears repeating: The amount of estate tax your family pays is going to depend more on the skill of your estate planning attorney, than on how much money you have.
The fact is, regardless of whether you (or the current administration) are democrat or republican, it only benefits you to be prepared. The estate tax is not a simple matter, and the better prepared you are the better your family and your business will fare when the time comes.