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Estate Tax Planning with the Exuberant Accountant

The Exuberant Accountant isn’t the spamming type so when he sent out an email to, presumably, all of his blog’s email subscribers as a warning about new estate tax rules in 2010, it was clear this wasn’t a casual tax issue. Scott Heintzelman was kind enough to give me a few minutes to break down what this means for estates and why we should care.

Disclaimer: I took an estate tax class no less than two months ago and have since forgotten everything I learned so I needed a refresher anyway. As always, if you need advice on actually planning your estate, don’t listen to me and get yourself a CPA and/or tax lawyer. “We are accountants, ultimately we don’t draft agreements,” says Scott and he’s absolutely right. Get a trained mine-sniffer on that particular cluck mission.

Scott pointed to a recent post from his firm’s McKonomics blog called “No Estate Tax is a Good Thing, Right?” and it goes without saying he doesn’t believe this “no estate tax thing is good” by any means.

He gave the example of getting hit by a bus (awww, don’t run over the Exuberant Accountant!): If he walks out of his office tomorrow and dies, certain language in his will might leave a trust with $0 for poor Mrs Exuberant Accountant. What about the little Exuberant Accountant Jrs?! The humanity! Don’t worry, we’d start a charity drive.

Anyway, from McKonly & Asbury:

[M]any estate planners wrote wills with such language that the bypass trust would be funded with an amount equal to “the current lifetime exemption amount.” Since we currently have no estate tax, and no lifetime exemption amount, if a spouse dies in 2010, we could potentially have an unfunded bypass trust. This is especially alarming since we can all assume the estate tax will come back and we may have a taxable estate once the second [spouse passes] away.

Thanks for the heads up Scott, here’s to hoping you don’t get smashed by a bus this year. Look on the bright side, the estate tax goes up to 50% next year!

Earlier: Five Questions with The Exuberant Accountant

Five Questions with The Exuberant Accountant

Thumbnail image for confidence.jpgWe here at GC love accountants, contrary to what some of you might think. Starting today, we’ll occasionally introduce you to a few of the finest accountants in the blogosphere.

Our debut is with Scott Heintzelman, The Exuberant Accountant. Scott is a partner at McKonly & Asbury an accounting and consultaning firm in Camp Hill, PA. And make no mistake, this is one EXUBERANT accountant. The fact that he is a CPA, CMA, and a CFE should be enough to convince you. If you’re still not sure and follow him on Twitter and that should it.

Here are Scott’s answers to a few questions we threw his way earlier this week:

Why do you blog?
A passion to educate and arm busy organizational leaders with trends, best practices, and updates.

If someone had to read just one post of yours which one would it be?
Is Our Country on a Collision Course?

Accountants are…
Great lovers – at least that is what Mrs. Exuberant Accountant tells me!

If you’re an accounting blogger you must…
Hopefully understand assets less liabilities equals equity

What’s best accounting firm we’ve never heard of?
McKonly & Asbury – hands down the best kept secret!