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One followup question - we are hovering around 50 - him above and me below. If we don't both die by 2010(and we have no plans to do that), do we need to fully review the estate planning then ?

I would suggest that you review your estate plan both now and every couple of years. Under current law, only if you die in 2010 will there be no estate tax. All of the tax changes that were made a couple of years ago will self-destruct on Jan. 1, 2011. If nothing happens before then, we go back to 2000 tax law. For estates, that means that the estate tax comes back on estates over $1MM.

Most pundits believe that congress will make some change before then. But, as Mark Twain put it, when Congress is in session, watch your wallet. Who knows what they will do. The best we can do from a planning point is to make sure our plans are made in light of current tax law, and watch for any law changes that would change your plans.

One more thing on the step up in basis. Should you die in 2010 (and congress not make any changes before then) the step up in basis goes away. So it's a good news/bad news sort of thing.

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