Legal Blog

The Weekly Scenario: Estate Tax & The New Tax Legislation

Question: I understand the estate tax may be repealed by the new tax legislation that is making its way through Congress. Is it a good thing to get rid of the estate tax once and for all?

Answer:  No one likes paying taxes. We all like to keep as much of our hard earned money as we can.

It may be true that the estate tax is levied on property that should have already been subject to federal and state income taxes. So, in that sense, many believe it to be unfair that the government would tax property that has already been taxed.

With regards to the federal estate tax, because the estate tax exemptions (credits) are arguably high under current law (about $5.5 million per individual and indexed for inflation), the estate tax is really a tax on the more wealthy among us.

Increasingly, the wealth gap between the rich and poor of this country is widening.

Does the estate tax level the playing field and even slow down the accumulation of wealth in rich and powerful families? Does having an estate tax prevent or slow down the wealth dynasties we have seen in the past (Rockefeller, Dupont, Getty)?

Or does the estate tax levied on wealthy people merely exacerbate the unfairness in our tax system (why should I do well if the government will only penalize me for it, albeit at my death).

Like with any tax, it depends on your perspective.


As always, if you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact Steve Shane at or 301.575.0313.


Steve Shane Casual Small | 301.575.0313

Steve Shane provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates.



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