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Eastman & Smith Alert - Has Congress Made Estate Planning Unnecessary?

2/1/11

The tax bill passed by Congress in December 2010 increased the estate tax exemption to $5,000,000 for two years and introduced portability of the exemption for married couples. As a result, individuals may be tempted to conclude that they do not need estate planning, at least not yet.

However, even from a tax standpoint, the 2010 changes are not a panacea, for the following reasons:

Even more important for most Americans, however, is that proper estate planning can accomplish many non-tax objectives, including In addition, proper estate planning can provide for financial decision-making, without the need for court involvement, in the event of disability (through a durable power of attorney), and can also provide for medical decision-making if needed (through a health care power of attorney and a living will).

Given the above, estate planning is not just for the wealthy -- it is needed by anyone who has assets and wants them to be put to the best use in the event of death or disability.

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