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Boston Partner Peter M. Shapland Quoted in "Bar: expired estate tax of little benefit to clients"

Publisher: Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
January 11, 2010

When the ball dropped on New Year's Eve, so too was the federal estate tax dropped. Inaction on the part of the U.S. Senate means the 45 percent tax on estates of more than $3.5 million for an individual no longer applies until new legislation can be passed, which most Trust and Estate lawyers expect will happen. Those lawyers interviewed recently by the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, including Day Pitney Boston partner Peter Shapland, said they expect any new law to be retroactive to January 1. In the meantime they are looking for ways to assist their clients in taking advantage of the situation.

"The only certainty is that the federal estate tax [expired]," said Peter M. Shapland, a partner at Day Pitney in Boston. "Everything else is uncertain, including the advice that we are able to give our clients."

Shapland, of Day Pitney, said lawyers can advise their clients based only on what they know and "what we suspect will probably happen. But I am one of those who are sure that Congress will eventually get to it and, as estate planning advisers, we just need to be nimble."

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