There are still people arguing for the elimination of the federal estate tax. However, it appears that it is here to stay. This article in the New York Times gets us thinking about the things that the government should be considering. But, all signs now point to a "permanent" estate tax with an exemption of $3.5 million dollars. But, if the tax remains, there are some unique planning opportunities and it will be good to know what we have to work with. That news should be forthcoming soon as congress and Obama seem set on getting a bill together very soon. We will keep you posted. If estates are exempt up to $3.5 million, many families will still need to include tranidional ferederal estate tax planning in their wills and will continue to use irrevocable life insurance trusts to own policies. However, many families will now be free of the tax and can focus planning dollars and tools on eliminating fmily disputes, protecting heirs from divorce and creditor's claims, and on eliminating or eliminating state inheritance taxes.