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Two Regional Financial Groups Tap Jay Young
To Help Explain and Make Recommendations in
Light of Federal Estate Tax Confusion.

The 111th Congress (First Session) and the Obama Administration surprised everyone in the estate planning field by failing to take action to prevent the "end" of the Federal Estate Tax before January 1, 2010. Previously, the Bush Administration, furthering its ultimate goal of abolishing the "tax on death," had passed legislation increasing the amount of the exemption (the amount that is not taxed) in stages from $600,000, the level in effect when George W. Bush took office in January 2000, to $3.5 million for 2009.

The maximum tax rate also dropped: from 55% in 2000, to 45% in 2009.

Then, under the Bush Administration legislation, the Federal Estate Tax "went to zero" on January 1, 2010.

It is a common tactic of administrations to enact legislation that saddles a future administration with challenging decisions, and so Estate Planning professionals were almost unanimous in predicting that the Obama Administration would not allow the Federal Estate Tax, which even at its historic 2009 level still generated over $25 billion in annual revenue, to "go to zero."

Little did anyone expect that, with the health care debate taking center stage, the death tax would get lost in the wings -- but that's exactly what happened. So, as of January 1, 2010, for anybody who dies this year, there is no Federal Estate Tax!

However, death tax opponents don't have long to cheer. The Bush Administration legislation did not exactly ABOLISH the Federal Estate Tax -- the Bush legislative overhaul of the tax expires on January 1, 2011. Which means that the Federal Estate Tax then returns at radically "worse" levels: the exemption drops back down to $1 million and the top tax rate goes back up to 55%.

This will be particularly onerous for Marylanders, who must suffer a state death tax ranging from 9% to 16% on top of the Federal tax. In a worse-case scenario, this could result in a combined tax of 71% of any estate amount above $1 million -- all for the privilege of dying.

The surprising failure of Congress to act made accountants and estate planning professionals scramble for advice on how to plan estates in such an unpredictable environment.

The national accounting firm Clifton Gunderson invited Albert J.A. "Jay" Young to present his expert analysis, opinion and recommendations to Clifton Gunderson clients on December 10, 2009. Those at the well-attended gathering at the Maryland Golf and Country Clubs that day heard Jay's thoughts on planning, tax avoidance and probate avoidance strategies; Clifton Gunderson also made presentations on income tax trends and new legislation.

Following this, the regional financial planning group Chesapeake Financial Solutions, which offers financial planning services to seniors, likewise invited Young to make presentations to its clients in seminars on January 12 and 14, 2010, at Bellissimo Restaurant (the former Crack Pot) in Bel Air. Both seminars saw capacity crowds and an overwhelmingly positive response to Jay's recommendations, based on his in-depth knowledge of the situation, and seasoned by his experience as a frequent speaker and lecturer on estate planning to professional groups, Bar Association Continuing Education, senior citizen groups and government retirement programs. Jay Young has also handled many of the largest probate estates in Harford County, giving his recommendations even more corroborative foundation.

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