Although the House of Representatives recently voted in favor of a complete repeal of the federal estate tax, the measure is expected to be defeated in the Senate. Therefore, we estate planners and our clients must deal with the strange on again, off again estate tax that resulted from the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (the “2001 Tax Act”). The 2001 Tax Act gradually increases the amount that can pass free of federal estate tax (and reduces the tax rates on the excess) from its present $1 million per estate this year, to $1.5 million in 2004 and 2005, $2 million for years 2006 through 2008, and $3.5 million in 2009. In 2010 the federal estate tax is repealed, but only for one year. Beginning in 2011, unless Congress acts, the federal estate tax reverts to what it was before the 2001 Tax Act, so that only the first $1 million can pass free of federal estate tax. Many states, including New York and New Jersey, have their own independent estate tax systems, imposing estate tax at much lower thresholds.