Estate planners can be fairly satisfied with what Congress enacted in the short-term to avert the fiscal cliff early in 2013. While they raised the estate and gift tax rate, they mostly left estate planning laws alone.
Congress Keeps Milk Prices Lower
Congress also helped farmers and consumers by averting a flood of milk price increases. By including a provision dealing with this agricultural issue, Congress extended the 2008 Farm Bill until September of 2013. For farmers in Vermont, this was an important step which will help families all across the nation.
Once the 2008 Farm Bill had expired, a 1949 dairy law would have required the government to purchase dairy products at a much higher rate. That would have led to increases in current market prices, raising costs for consumers to $7 or 8 per gallon of milk at the grocery checkout counter.
The Milk Income Loss Contract program was also retained. This is a safety net for farmers when dairy prices reach a certain low point. It compensates for the difference between target price and market price.
The American Farm Bureau would have liked Congress to have passed a farm bill for a five-year period. But the one year extension does give some certainty for farmers, certainly much better than falling off the “Dairy Cliff.”
The estate and gift tax exemption rate remains at $5 million before being adjusted for inflation. The adjusted amount is $5.25 million in 2013. This is a big relief to ranchers and farmers who may want to pass along their agricultural property, provisions, and equipment.
Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC in Vermont is very interested in helping our state’s agricultural families with Business Planning. Please come see us today for any related legal issues.