Estate planning is never an exact science.  As many of you know, if Congress and the President fail to act before year-end, the Bush-era tax breaks will come to an end.  This includes capital gains tax rates, marginal income tax rates, and the higher estate and gift tax exemptions.  As the presidential election approaches, we will continue to hear a flurry of activity from Congress on these issues.  However, the activity will most likely be political posturing and unlikely to result in any substantive changes.  Most commentators believe that we are heading into a period of great uncertainty.  Even if the Republican Party sweeps both houses of Congress and the White House, we should prepare for little change before year end.  In fact, that scenario almost ensures that there will be no legislation passed until the newly elected president takes the oath of office.  Some believe the changes will not take place until the summer of 2013.  What is certain is that there will be a period where no professional planner can be certain.  Accordingly, we are asking our clients to keep abreast of the latest news and to call us if there are any issues unique to their individual cases.