Estate Lawyers Overwhelmingly Oppose Repeal of the Federal Estate Tax

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Among lawyers most familiar with the complexities of the federal estate and gift taxes, an overwhelming majority Â? 73 percent Â? of those responding to a recent survey opposed permanent repeal of the tax.

Among lawyers most familiar with the complexities of the federal estate and gift taxes, an overwhelming majority – 73 percent – of those responding to a recent survey opposed permanent repeal of the tax.

Many of those responding commented that permanent repeal would lead to further concentration of wealth, would shift the tax burden to those less wealthy – and less able to afford it, and would adversely impact the “character” of those who stand to inherit vast sums of unearned income. Additionally, many of the respondents cited a shift of power away from the middle-class and into the hands of those in concentrated pockets of ultra-wealth as deleterious to the democratic principles of the country.

These comments are representative of the results of an online survey by Integrity Marketing Solutions, a marketing and practice development firm serving estate attorneys. The survey was conducted during the month of August, before Hurricane Katrina took the issue of estate tax repeal temporarily off the Congressional debate agenda. Even before the disasters of Katrina and Rita, however, more than 90 percent of the attorneys surveyed said they did NOT expect Congress to authorize permanent repeal this year.

The nearly 200 respondents who participated in the survey represent a well-experienced group of professionals, 76 percent of whom have practiced in the field for more than ten years. Though they voiced strong opinions against repeal of the estate tax, they also were concerned about how their clients would respond to a permanent repeal. Many were concerned that clients would see estate planning as unnecessary – ignoring urgent and complex issues such as designating guardians for minor children, health care proxies, and fiduciaries to manage their financial affairs in the event of their own incapacity. Many commented that clients also may ignore their responsibilities to deal with thorny personal issues such as the blending of family assets when divorced parents remarry, continuation of management and control in family-owned businesses, caring for family members with special needs, and post-mortem asset distribution.

A full report of the survey findings is available to download from Integrity Marketing's website at http://www.mycoachnet.com/main.htm. Registration is required to complete the download.

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