In 2001, George W. Bush signed a one year lapse in the estate tax that went into effect at the end of 2009 through 2010. The effect of this lapse in estate tax for this calendar year is that the children and grandchildren of the extraordinarily wealthy will inherit billions tax free. Many people feel this will only serve to make a greater class distinction between the super wealthy and the middle class. Arguing that allowing families to contribute to young generations of millionaires who do not need to work or contribute to society is not beneficial.
However, on January 1, 2011, the estate tax rate will return to its prior rate which means estates will be taxed at rates beginning at 37 percent and going as high as 55 percent. Generally, this estate tax applies to assets exceeding $1 million. Therefore, having a good estate litigation attorney is vital to protecting as many of your assets as possible from being subject to the estate tax.