Voice of Experience: Fall 2014


In This Issue

Trusts & Estates

The ATRA-Math—Estate Planning After the 2012 American Taxpayer Relief Act: An Interview with Thomas J. Pauloski

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) changed the face of estate planning considerably. For example, the “applicable exclusion amount” that each person may exclude from federal gift and estate tax was scheduled to revert to a fixed $1 million effective January 1, 2013. Instead, ATRA permanently established a $5 million exclusion that is indexed for inflation; today, the applicable exclusion stands at $5.34 million per person and $10.68 million for married couples. As a result, it is estimated that only 1 in 700 families currently has enough wealth to need tax-driven estate planning. How has ATRA changed planning for those families? And what should the other 699 families do? Thomas J. Pauloski, national managing director in the Wealth Planning and Analysis Group of Bernstein Global Wealth Management, Chicago, answers these and other questions. The opinions expressed are those of Mr. Pauloski, not those of Bernstein Global Wealth Management or the ABA.

Federal Government

Gridlock, Executive Orders, and Separation of Powers

Given the decision of the voters in the 2012 elections to elect a Democratic president, a Democratic majority in the Senate, and a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, it has not been surprising that numerous contentious and challenging legislative issues have fallen victim to legislative gridlock. Now, as the November 2014 elections approach, speculation abounds in Washington as to the upcoming changes in the composition of the Senate and the House of Representatives and how those changes will impact the ability of the Obama Administration to work with the next Congress. Regardless of the election results, it is highly likely that gridlock will continue and will prompt unilateral executive action.