Estate Planning Review Advised After ATRA 2012


"Everybody should think about their estate regardless of the level of assets," says Barry Fischman, a partner at accounting firm Marcum. "The biggest hurdle is psychological. People say, ‘I'm not ready to do anything. I want to maintain control until the day I pass.' You have to have these conversations that really have nothing to do with the law, but have to do with the emotional attachment and control."

Is this the calm after the tax storm of 2012 now that the estate tax laws seem to have finally found a safe harbor after so many years of indecision? Maybe you are breathing easier now and settling into the new tax law format. But what about your estate plan? Don’t get too comfortable just yet – a review of your estate plan is a wise call before you can rest easy.

As you may have heard, the midnight compromise signed into law just before the tax law shifted back ten years into the past, otherwise known as the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (or ATRA 2012), finally set estate laws and wealth transfer taxes into stone. While “permanent” and “tax law” may seem a bit oxymoronic, the deal struck in stone is at least better than the silly putty in play for a decade.

A recent Reuters article titled “New estate tax rules call for new planning tactics” is a clarion call to review your estate planning. Some of the tax changes may have created some unintended consequences you ought to investigate, especially with the more generous federal estate tax exemption amount.

Remember, estate planning is a process, not an event. A review of your estate plan is crucial from time-to-time, so don’t postpone this check-up.

To talk with an attorney about your estate planning needs, visit

Reference: Reuters (February 26, 2013) “New estate tax rules call for new planning tactics