The following was first posted on the “Surviving the Estate Tax Fiscal Cliff” on November 9th, 2012:

If you were like many of my clients you have been waiting.

Yes, your attorney, your financial advisor, your CPA, and every news source you read has been warning you about the fiscal cliff. You are concerned about the how the fiscal cliff could impact your estate tax planning. You understand that the Federal Estate Tax Exemption may revert back to $1 million. You know that we could permanently be losing the $5 million dollar gift tax exemption on January 1st, 2013. You recognize that the current maximum Federal Estate Tax rate of 35% could revert to 55% at the end of this year. But you did not have enough information to make a decision. You hoped that the Presidential Election could shed some light on what you should do.

Well, the election was two days ago. Are you ready to take action? Did I mention that you only have 53 days and counting?

I admit I have been waiting for the election results and hoping that the election results would make my job of advising my clients easier. It hasn’t. In fact, I would say that the election has caused me to look at this issue with a new urgency. For reasons that I will detail in the days ahead I believe that the likelihood of the estate tax law being significantly less favorable on January 1st has increased. I am now advising all of my clients with estates greater than $1 million to examine this and consider taking action within the next 53 days to protect their estates. But really you don’t have 53 days. Not when you reduce it for weekends (16 days) and holidays (5 days). That leaves just 32 business days. If your attorney is like me, not all of those days are available. For example, I plan on going skiing the day after Thanksgiving.

I am going to try to help by reminding you about this issue and providing some analysis and planning strategies. While I don’t intend to get caught up in politics, I will occasionally provide you some links to political articles. Here are three for today:

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