If you were one of the many people who created an asset trust a couple of years ago to help your descendants save on estate taxes, you probably wish you hadn't.
While the estate tax rules have been one of Congress' favorite footballs to kick around in the last few decades — exemption levels and tax rates have changed some 20 times since 1976 — the so-called fiscal cliff deal struck in early 2013 seems to have settled the issue.
The estate and gift-tax elements of that deal — the American Taxpayer Relief Act — essentially extended the favorable rules previously in place. The $5 million exemption, adjusted for inflation, was made permanent, as were the rules on portability of the exemption for married couples (i.e. $10 million per couple). The tax rate on estates over that threshold, now $5.45 million per person, was bumped up to 40 percent.