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Estate Tax Slated To Change in 2013

 Posted on November 30, 2012 in Estate Execution

According to the American Association of Retired People (AARP), "Congress hasn't made estate planning any easier with its ping-pong approach to the estate tax," and the federal estate tax rates are slated to change again in 2013. Finding a qualified and competent attorney is the most important step to begin estate planning. Not only can a professional help you to ensure that your inheritors get the most of your estate, but also help you to wade through the necessary and complicated paperwork and legalese. In 2010, the federal estate tax rate was zero—and has moved upward since. The New Year marks a new rate, unless Congress decides otherwise. Now's a better time than ever to begin the process.

Consider it a holiday gift to yourself and your family. According to the AARP, "until January 1, 2013, the amount of your estate exempted from federal tax is $5 million for individuals, $10 million for couples." These numbers don't include gifts of up to $5 million that are exempt before paying a gift tax ($10 million for a couple).

The changing of this isn't just for the very wealthy—an oft-overlooked subset of the population regarding estate tax are the solidly middle-class farmers, whose land is counted as part of an estate. As property values have risen dramatically (especially for large swaths of farmland located near large cities, like Chicago), farmers have been hit especially hard by rising estate tax rates.

Critics tend to refer to the estate tax as the "death tax," and the relatively obscure law got some political buzz in the recent presidential election, according to NPR News. Regardless of what side of the political fence you're on, or what you consider to be your future estate, planning for death is an important part of life. Contact a dedicated Illinois estate-planning attorney today.

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