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For All It's Worth

The estate tax may disappear in 2010. Keep your assets from doing the same by planning today.

This story appears in the April 2008 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

In 18 months, Lara Villarreal Hutner's San Francisco law firm tripled in size, employing six attorneys who represent Frito-Lay, Pepsi, Wal-Mart and others. Villarreal Hutner, 39, estimates the value of her personal estate, including her firm, may reach seven figures by the year's end. "I just brought in Gap, MV Transportation and Staples," she says. "I can't even describe what's happened to my life." She hopes to transfer her wealth to her children when she and her husband pass away. But the federal estate tax says she must first hand more than 45 percent of every penny she owns beyond $2 million to Uncle Sam.

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