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Archive for June, 2010

TRANSITIONS

Thursday, June 17th, 2010 by

 

 

Change is in the air at Cramer Law Center. Many of you have noticed that our longtime legal assistant, Janet Marshall, has left us to explore other opportunities. You also know that I  took some time off to see our son get married. Because of the difficulty in finding someone who will live up to Janet’s high standard of client service and caring, we’ve had some temporary assistants over the past couple of months. I’m pleased to announce that our search for help is now over. Join me in welcoming Valentina Chapman as the newest member of our team.

Val is both an Advanced Certified Paralegal and a Certified Florida Legal Assistant with over  15 years experience. Val previously worked for one of Jacksonville’s top estate planning law firms. She has handled hundreds of probate and estate administrations, has drafted all different types of estate plans, and has helped fund numerous trusts. Her organizational skills and fresh ideas already have begun to have an impact on the office. Plus, she is a delightful individual. Val hails from Pennsylvania and has been in Jacksonville for the past 16 years.

Melinda and I are delighted that our son, Barrett,  married his longtime sweetheart,  Lexie Abramson, on May 30. They have dated for 7 years, beginning with the Bolles School senior prom. They had been in school together since the 3d grade. In fact, in the 5th grade, Barrett (in budding engineer fashion) sent Lexie a note asking if she would be his girlfriend and put boxes to check “yes” or “no”. She checked “no” then, but eventually came around. They are living in Gainesville where he is working on his Ph.D in environmental engineering and she is attending the college of veterinary medicine.

Now that these milestones have been marked, we hope to continue sending out this newsletter on its regular schedule, chock full of interesting and useful information about estate planning.

 

 

 

 

Change is in the air at Cramer Law Center. Many of you have noticed that our longtime legal assistant, Janet Marshall, has left us to explore other opportunities. You also know that I  took some time off to see our son get married. Because of the difficulty in finding someone who will live up to Janet’s high standard of client service and caring, we’ve had some temporary assistants over the past couple of months. I’m pleased to announce that our search for help is now over. Join me in welcoming Valentina Chapman as the newest member of our team.

 

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LATEST UPDATE ON THE STATUS OF THE ESTATE TAX

Sunday, June 13th, 2010 by

The future of the estate tax remains a back-burner item in Congress. With so many legislative priorities ahead of it and as more and more members of Congress become preoccupied with mid-term elections, the likelihood of legislation being enacted before the end of the year grows more remote. There has been some talk of passing a bill that would permit 2010 estates to choose to follow either the 2009 law (3.5 million dollar exemption, step up in basis and a 45% tax rate) or the 2010 law (no estate tax, but carryover basis ). But it remains just talk.

Meanwhile, 2011 is fast approaching—with a return to an estate tax with a 55% rate and only a $1 million personal exemption. If this concerns you, remember that the democrats favor, and the house already has passed, a bill which extends the 2009 law into the future. The republicans want a $5 million exemption and a 35% rate. The problem with that position is that under the “pay-as-you-go” requirements, the estimated $91 BILLION cost of this change must be offset by increasing taxes elsewhere. There is no cost to extending the previous law. This proposed $91 billion reduction in the estate tax will benefit only the wealthiest ¼ of 1% of all households. Under the prior law, 99.75% of all households paid no estate tax. This should make voting to extend the prior law a ”no-brainer”, but instead it appears that the republicans have “no brains” on this issue.

Many of you will be subject to the increased estate tax next year. If you aren’t successful in lobbying your Senators to extend the 2009 law, you must seriously consider beginning the estate planning that you’ve been putting off until “absolutely necessary”. 2011 is that time.

On a lighter note, while Congress dithers, I’m taking a week off to see my son get married. I should be back in the office on June 2.

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