It appears that the Fiscal Cliff Deal will, among other things, bring some certainty to the Federal Estate Tax system that has been lacking for the last thirteen years, or so.  Reports indicate that the legislation will make permanent the existing exclusionary amount and portability provisions, while the tax rate for amounts beyond the exclusionary amount will increase (the top rate will go to 40%, from a previous maximum of 35%).  A more detailed discussion may be found at the following link on –