California Estate Planning Blog by Kevin Staker

June 30, 2010

“Conventional Wisdom” Thinks 2009 Rules Will Be Reinstated for 2011

Filed under: estate tax,Kevin Staker — Kevin Staker @ 9:02 pm
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In an article at the Hill, Jay Heflin focuses on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid criticizing the Republicans not letting any legislation of consequence go forward.  He states this then prevents the Senate from addressing the “Bush tax cuts”.  This includes the estate tax.

The article states that those in the know think:

Democrats back the extension of tax cuts benefiting the middle class, as well as protecting them from the alternative minimum tax. They would also like to keep the estate tax from reverting back to pre-2001 levels, when estates worth roughly $1.2 million were slapped with a 55 percent tax.  [Emphasis added.]

By Kevin Staker


June 24, 2010

Three Liberal Senators Proposing Extra 10 Percent Estate Tax on Billionaires (technically half)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Staker @ 3:24 pm
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Senators Bernard Sanders, Tom Harkin, and Sheldon Whitehouse, three of the most liberal. Have proposed top estate tax rate of 65 percent on estates over $500 million. They argue these people “should be paying their fair share”. They do not say why that is their fair share.

I believe no chance of passing. Almost did not even bother posting this news. But not much else going on.

June 22, 2010

Some More Talk But No Action

Filed under: estate tax,Kevin Staker — Kevin Staker @ 5:03 pm
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Last week the Hill reported that Senate Finance Chair Grassley expressed his frustration with the delay in the Senate in dealing with the estate tax.  He accused Senator Reid and the other Democratic Senate leaders of “slow-walking”.  He quite correctly pointed out if nothing is done we will end up back at a $1,000,000 estate tax exemption, which he said is “just not right”.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer today commented that the “Bush tax cuts” as they have been called may not be extended even for the middle class.  The reason is the need for revenue to bring down the huge upcoming federal deficits.  As part of such remarks, Mr. Hoyer commented that the estate tax was part of such tax legislation that will be expiring in 2011 and so is “in limbo”.   Mr. Hoyer made the comments before a seminar sponsored by a progressive think tank, The Third Way.  The quote was in article at

The Hill article was by Jay Heflin and is located at

The article was by John Shaw and is located at

By Kevin Staker

June 11, 2010

Excellent Article in the New York Times re Where We Are Now on the Estate Tax

Filed under: estate tax,Kevin Staker — Kevin Staker @ 11:54 pm
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Paul Sullivan at the New York Times has written an excellent article on the present status of the estate tax law.  Although he does not have any revelations about any new developments, he really lays out the history of what has gone on and where we stand now very well.  In a sense he accurately reports the latest news on the estate tax, which is no news.

The article is found at

By Kevin Staker

June 2, 2010

Senate Republican Finance Chair Encourages Senator Majority Leader to Act on the Estate Tax

Filed under: estate tax,Kevin Staker — Kevin Staker @ 11:34 pm
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The Hill reports that Senator Grassley is encouraging Majority Leader Reid to move forward on the estate tax.  They report that Senator Grassley, who is the ranking Republican member on the Senate Finance Commitee, is calling for Senator Reid to “show his cards”.  He indicates he believes the Finance Committee has a deal on the estate tax worked out but that Reid would not let such bill go to a vote.  One would assume because as reported before, there are a number of the more liberal Democratic senators who would object.

The Hill reports Senator Grassley is concerned that if no action taken, under present law, the estate tax will come back in 2011 with only a $1,000,000 exemption:

“Reid will not really give us a clear direction,” Grassley said, adding, “I think that there’s going to be a tremendous upheaval at the grassroots of America – and more rural America than big city America – if it looks like we’re going to revert to the million-dollar level.”

Otherwise, there has not been much to report regarding the estate tax for some time.

The article was written by Jay Heflin and is located at

By Kevin Staker