Most of the time when politicians announce that they are seeking increases in the estate tax, they state that they are doing so to make the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes or something similar. Senator Bernie Sanders, however, has announced that he is seeking an increase in the estate tax for the specific purpose of dealing with wealth inequality in the United States. The Senator wrote about it himself in The Huffington Post. The article is titled "A Progressive Estate Tax."
As the name of the article suggests, the proposal is for a progressive estate tax. The more wealth an estate has, the higher the rate of tax paid on the estate. For example, in the proposal estates valued between $3.5 million and $10 million would pay a 40 percent estate tax while estates valued between $10 million and $50 million would pay a 50 percent estate tax. The full details are in the article.
Given the current political climate in Washington, it is unlikely that Senator Sander's proposal will be passed, if it even makes it to a vote. However, it is important to note that legislators do propose changes to the estate tax and these proposals do sometimes pass. For this reason it is important to stay in touch with your estate planning attorney to make sure that your plan is up to date.
Reference: The Huffington Post (September 8, 2014) "A Progressive Estate Tax"
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