What is the Status of the Estate Tax?

I attended the 2009 annual American Agricultural Law Association conference in Williamsburg, Virginia.   The lunch speaker on September 25th was Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture.  He’s a good speaker:  he measures his words carefully and is a smart guy.

Mr. Vilsack spent a couple of hours with us and took questions at the end.  I asked for the administration’s view on the estate tax.  Those of us in the estate planning field know that the estate tax law was passed in 2001.  Under current law, there is no estate tax in 2010, but it returns with a vengeance in 2011.

So, Congress needs to provide a long-term fix.  Mr. Vilsack acknowledged that he did not know the official White House position.

I was impressed when Mr. Vilsack (who himself practiced law in Iowa) said he’d check on this issue.  How cool is that – a Cabinet-level guy going back to Washington knowing that we want to know the future of the estate tax?

I think this issue will be on his radar in the future, and may not stay in idle.

The lunch was a highpoint – the best speaker I’ve ever heard at the ag law conference, and we get some good ones.