The second half of 2012 and the first couple of days in 2013 were interesting, to say the least, for the general public and particularly so for the estate-planning community. Quality of life for estate planners in the last quarter of 2012 was essentially non-existent, with the year-end estate-planning crunch arising from the Dec. 31 gift planning deadline prompted by the threat that the gift tax exemption would return to $1 million, coupled with a 55 percent rate. Congress put those fears ...

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