“Ask Your Attorney” Column

About Avoiding Death Taxes

Dear Counselor: I know that two things none of us can avoid are death and taxes, but my wife and I have worked our whole lives, and have faithfully paid our income taxes every year. So what is this business about the IRS taking a big chunk out of our estate when we die? What can we do about it?

Dear Client: You are right to be upset because President Obama and the US Senate have sat by and done nothing, and as a result of their inaction, at the end of this year the existing law will expire. When this happens, the amount people can leave without paying Federal Estate Tax to the IRS will be reduced to $1,000,000, and the maximum tax rate will rise to 55%. This is truly more than taxation. In reality, it is more like confiscation! What I can suggest is that in addition to talking with your lawyer about ways to minimize estate taxes, you may want to consider a political solution as the best way to act at this time. In this election there is a real difference between the candidates. Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, and our own Congressman, Paul Ryan, who is the Vice-Presidential Candidate, have both proposed elimination of the Federal Estate Tax. In general, they believe that people, like you, who have worked hard all their lives, and paid their taxes, should not have their estates raided by the tax man just because they die! They, and Candidate for US Senate Tommy Thompson, support the permanent elimination of the Federal Estate Tax as it wrongfully taxes wealth repeatedly, leads to people spending a lot of money on tax avoidance schemes, and can have a catastrophic effect on family farms or other businesses (if they have to be sold to pay the tax). So, if you are in agreement with that position, the Romney/Ryan Tax Plan is something that you may want to look more into, and decide to support. The election is on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. Everyone’s vote is important.

John L. Maier, Jr., Attorney at Law

114 N. Church St.
Elkhorn, WI 53121