Thursday, February 18, 2010
Uncertainty about the estate tax has caused all sorts of problems for estate planners and their wealthy clients. The estate tax expired at the end of 2010, but if Congress does nothing, the tax in 2011 will affect more people than it did in 2009. And Congress may do something - but no one knows what Congress will do and whether it will be retroactive. In addition to all the other planning problems this causes, charities are beginning to worry about a possible effect on charitable giving. An article in the Pittsburgh Tribune discusses the problems caused by the uncertainly surrounding the estate tax, including possible losses of charitable gifts. Some people commenting in the article suggest that because many people are in a holding pattern, gifts already written into wills will stay there but someone planning an estate may be reluctant to include a charitable gift until the impact of the estate tax on the person's family becomes clear.