For the first time since 1916, there’s no federal estate tax in place. That’s because the tax was set to expire at the end of 2009, and Congress surprised everyone by not voting to extend it. So, for deaths in 2010, there is no federal estate tax, and inherited property may be subject to higher taxes under “stepped up” tax basis rules — for now, anyway. That could all change if (as a number of experts predict) Congress decides to resurrect the estate tax and the old tax basis rules, and make that mandate retroactive to January 1, 2010.

How did we (and Congress) get here, and what can we expect for the future of the estate tax? Nolo’s new article Estate Tax: What on Earth is Happening in 2010? explains.

Want to learn more about the estate tax, taxes on gifting, and more? Visit the Estate Tax section of Nolo’s free legal information center.