January 28, 2010 Newsletter

The new year has brought uncertainty to the estate tax world. The federal estate tax limit was 3.5 million through 2009, but Congress made no provisions for what would happen in 2010, only that the federal estate tax would go away. Congress has been busy with health care and has not turned its eyes to the federal estate tax, which potentially could provide significant revenue to a nation currently in the throes of a financial crisis.

Many states, including Maryland, are proposing bills that “grandfather” or plug the gap created, by stating that if the testator (maker of the will) dies in 2010, for federal estate tax purposes it will be presumed he/she died in 2009. The reason is as follows: Many wills were prepared stating that monies available based on the federal tax amount would go to a spouse, an heir, etc. Since no federal estate tax is imposed and no threshold has to be met, that would alter who receives the funds. If you have any questions or would like to have your will or estate plan reviewed, call us.

On a positive front, rates came down slightly and there may still be an opportunity to obtain a fixed rate under 5%. For the first time in recent memory, the ARM products have more separation from fixed rates, so 5/1 ARMs are in the low 4’s or high 3s.

If you believe you will be in your current home for 5-6 years, these products are extremely attractive right now. If you need a referral to a lender, email me.

We will be moving our offices this weekend (in the snow) to 10500 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 170, Columbia, MD 21044, also known as The Parkside Building. We are now south of the mall and directly across from Merriwether Post Pavilion. We are looking forward to our new space and please stop by and visit. Our phones and email addresses remain unchanged.