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Don't Wait Until Tomorrow

Granted, federal estate tax laws might change. But don't let that stop you from taking money-saving steps now.

By Joan Szabo

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Federal taxes usually due at death have recently grabbed theattention of the living. A number of Republican lawmakers, as wellas GOP presidential hopeful George W. Bush, want to do away withthe federal estate tax. Bush's plan would phase out the federaltax on large estates over an eight-year period.

Why the drive for repeal? Critics of the tax insist it'sunfair. Congress did make some changes to estate tax laws when itpassed the Tax Relief Act of 1997. Under the '97 law, theunified credit was raised over a number of years. In 2000, forexample, the credit increased to $220,500. As a result, use of thecredit now exempts the first $675,000 of an individual's estatefrom taxes ($1.35 million for married couples). Also, the creditincreases over several years with the effective individualexemption reaching $1 million ($2 million for legally marriedcouples) in 2006.

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