On December 3, the House of Representatives by a vote of 225 to 200 passed an estate tax bill which makes the $3.5 million applicable exclusion amount and the 45% estate tax rate permanent. Every Republican, along with 26 Democrats, voted no on the bill. If a law is not passed by December 31, the estate tax will be repealed for one year, and in 2011, the estate tax will return with a $1 million exemption (subject to inflation) and a top estate tax rate of 55%. The Senate is not expected to adopt this bill; it is more likely to pass a one year extension of the current law. We will keep you posted on all developments as they unfold.