As reported here, Sen. Max Baucus has introduced a bill in the Senate that would make the 2009 estate tax level permanent and reunify the estate and gift taxes. Nothing surprising here, but it’s worth noting that this bill also allows portability of the exemption for spouses. This is a big deal. By now I think the emerging consensus is that "portability" is going to be a part of the new estate-tax landscape, which I previously wrote about here.

For more detail on the Baucus bill, click here for North Carolina estate planning attorney Greg Herman-Giddens’ comments on his North Carolina Estate Planning Blog.