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Estate Tax Limbo

Q. I’m trying to put together an estate plan and was wondering whether the estate tax that was repealed for 2010 will be reinstated in 2011.

A. The future of the estate tax, sometimes called the “death tax,” is uncertain at this point. In 2001, President George W. Bush signed a major tax overhaul law that reduced the estate tax progressively over eight years and repealed it entirely for 2010. But that same law provides for the tax to return next year in its 2001 form, unless Congress passes legislation requiring something else. There is no immediate sign of such legislation. In the meantime, your best bet may be to hire an estate planning attorney.

Carole Fleck is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.