Nothing like a cliff hanger, or “fiscal cliff” to create confusion.

But now we know the following: Ohio no longer has an estate tax, as of January 1, and the federal estate tax did revert to the $1M federal exemption, which will be replaced retroactively with a $5M exemption when the tax relief bill becomes law, but a higher 40% marginal rate has been added. At least we have some guidance for our tax planning.

We always have to consider tax, but our position is that the “tax tail should not wag the dog”. Jumping through tax planning hoops sometimes does not accomplish a higher goal of building family responsibility and serving some higher goals. If you choose to meet with us, be prepared to consider estate planning in a wider context than you may have been expecting.

Blessings to you and yours for the New Year.


It is hard to understand, if you are logical, why we are still looking at a January 1 reversion to old federal estate tax rates – $1 M exemption.   But somehow in our dumb-downed public discourse, it makes sense to let income taxes go up, so politicians can claim to reduce them in January, and likewise, restore retroactively the federal estate tax exemption at over $5M.  Who knows?  At least the Ohio estate tax is gone on January 1.  I can only relate what tax services report to me that the federal estate tax rates for 2012 are likely going to be extended for 2013, although the president wants to reduce the exemption to $3.5M and raise the rate to 45% from its present 35%.  While I think that estate planners like myself and our clients deal with a lot of uncertainty, can you imagine the plight of the IRS employees?  What forms to they release?  At what rate?   I never thought I would say something sympathetic for the IRS but I just did!  What does scripture say about love for all?   Blessings, Tim

ESTATE TAX – Are the guru’s predictions correct?

I have been watching carefully everything that comes out of Washington regarding estate tax this year. Mostly, it has just been rumors, but with Congress deadlocked on tax, the possibilities have been scary for our clients. With no action, the federal estate tax would revert to $1M on January 1, which puts many seniors at risk for a hugh bill. Also rumored was that that if Obama were re-elected, the confrontation between the parties would, in the best case, result in a $3.5M limit. Now, according to Kiplinger’s tax notes this week, the experts say the $5M limit will likely be extended in a special deal over the holidays. That is a Christmas present to many of our elderly clients, knowing they can carry out their estate plans.

It’s not all about tax, though. It’s about legacy – a communication of values and principles learned over a lifetime to a community and a family. We would love to talk with you about your legacy. Blessings, Tim