There is a bill pending in Congress that, if passed, could significantly impact estate planning for Texas residents and others.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington, and it seeks to roll estate tax rates back to their pre-2001 levels.

Introduced in November, the legislation would raise the estate tax from its current limit of 35 percent to 55 percent and reduce the estate tax threshold from $5 million to $1 million. The levels would be indexed for inflation beginning in 2000, and the proposed law seeks to address the fact that only a small fraction of all estates paid federal estate taxes in 2009.

The bill is heralded as a vehicle for ensuring tax equality for all Americans, but the bill’s passage could significantly impact families engaged in estate planning.

Some welcome the proposed changes and say that in these difficult times, it is reasonable to ask the wealthiest Americans to sacrifice for the greater good.

There are current estate planning opportunities for Texas residents to consider to allow individuals and families to take full advantage of existing laws as they seek asset protection and estate tax minimization so that their heirs and beneficiaries can be provided for in the future.

Individuals and families that are thinking about beginning estate planning or wishing to make changes to their current estate may consider working with an experienced estate attorney who fully understands the laws and procedures. Estate planning can be complicated at times and an attorney can help families plan a solid future for their families.

Source: Accounting Today, “Congressman Proposes Raising the Estate Tax,” Michael Cohn, Nov. 21, 2011