You worked hard to build a good life. When you pass along your assets, you want to make sure that your family and friends get the benefit, not Uncle Sam.
The good news is that only large estates are affected by the federal estate tax. The data show that only a small percentage of taxpayers—2 percent by the IRS’ most recent count—end up owing the estate tax.
The bad news is that your estate may be larger than you realize.
The best news is that the estate tax is eliminated in 2010. The worst news is that it returns, with even tougher guidelines, in 2011. Congress, however, is likely to modify the estate tax before then. Most lawmakers agree that some estate tax is good but ...