As we near the end of 2012, I have a feeling of déjà vu. Weren’t we in a similar position just two years ago, at the end of 2010, when the estate tax laws were about to expire, and we didn’t know what would happen in 2011? This time around, we know what will happen if Congress does nothing—the estate tax exemption will revert to $1 million. But, much can happen between now and the end of 2012. And, after Nov. 6, we should be able to better guess what may take place, when we know the results of the presidential election. We’ll be watching closely and, whatever the results, providing you with the information you need to advise your clients. 

There’s a topic we can tell you about definitively—some changes to the High-Net-Worth Families & Family Offices committee of our editorial advisory board. Lee Miller, a relationship manager/wealth advisor in Glenmede’s New York office is joining the committee, and Jeff Thomasson of Oxford Financial Group Ltd. is stepping down. We look forward to working with Lee and thank Jeff for his past contributions to our journal. 

And, taking a break from U.S. politics, our magazine this month features a Special Report on international issues. In “Offshore (But Still U.S.) Taxpayers” (p. 42), Barbara R. Hauser explains a new Internal Revenue Service voluntary disclosure program aimed at U.S. taxpayers who live offshore to encourage their reporting of global income and accounts. If you have clients with international assets, be sure to read “The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act” (p. 52), in which Eric van Aalst provides an overview of the FATCA reporting requirements that take effect on Jan. 1, 2013. John Goldsworth, in “Family Private Foundations”? (p. 48), discusses the growing popularity of family private foundations in offshore jurisdictions and their differences from trusts. And, in “Fideicomisos: Clarity at Last?”(p. 59), Amy P. Jetel discusses an important private letter ruling that provides guidance on foreign trust reporting requirements for a particular strategy used to purchase Mexican real property.