Perspective for Business Owners on the Estate Tax Saga

In the wrangling over the tax-cut compromise, the estate tax provision has attracted special ire from Democrats. That's because the proposed tax rates are more generous to the multimillionaires and billionaires whose heirs pay estate tax than in any year of George W. Bush's presidency. If they become law, the new rates will ensnare far fewer wealthy families and small business owners, says Jonathan M. Bergman, a certified financial planner and vice-president at Palisades Hudson Financial Group, a fee-only financial planning firm in Scarsdale, N.Y.He spoke to Smart Answers columnist Karen E. Klein about the situation as it stood on Dec. 15. Edited excerpts of their conversation follow.

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