By: Mark L. Dodds, Esq., Partner at Grant Morris Dodds
So here we are, more than one year after the change in the estate tax law which temporarily at least has repealed the 2010 repeal of the estate tax, replacing it with a $5 million exemption. But the $5 million exemption is not all bad, considering most estate tax pundits never would have predicted the repeal would have seen the light of day, even for the one year for which the repeal actually was effective.
There were several high profile deaths in 2010 where the heirs really hit the jackpot, among the most notable being the heirs of George Steinbrenner who inherited the $1.5 billion New York Yankees franchise entirely free of estate tax. If Mr. Steinbrenner had died one year earlier, the heirs would have had the federal government as a 55% partner in the storied New York team; had Steinbrenner died a year later, in 2011, the federal government would have been only a 35% partner. Either way, Mr. Steinbrenner got it just right, assuming there can be a right time to die.