Clearly, in 2010, tax and estate planning issues were top of mind for wealth managers. The uncertainty about estate and tax planning for 2010, naction by caused by Congress's inaction on these issues in 2009, has been replaced by an almost miraculous, bipartisan compromise bill passed by a not-so-lame-duck Congress this month in Washington and signed into law by President Obama. The upshot of that bill is extension of Bush-era income-tax cuts for two years and clarity on estate, gift and other wealth transfer issues that are crucial. There are also, in some cases, a “huge' opportunity for estate and tax planning, in the words of Ben Ledyard (left) of Silver Bridge.
Another top issue for wealth managers: reducing the deficit and how that would affect taxes. There have been many headlines—and maybe too few real proposals—for deficit reduction, and though it failed to get enough votes to get to Congress, the President’s bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform proposals caught the interest of many readers.