Rich People Are Waiting Until the Ball Drops to Die

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Owing to a technicality that some are calling a congressional lapse, the estate tax — which affects only the very rich but takes up to half of what they bequeath — will disappear completely for one year when the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 2010. Because of this, The Wall Street Journal reports, many of the fifteen rich-enough-to-be-affected people who would normally die each day are staying, or being kept, alive until late tomorrow night so that their heirs will inherit twice as much. At least one old guy is trying to make sure his own death occurs next year by planning for a euthanasia in Holland, where it's legal. But Congress could pass an estate-tax law next year that is retroactive to January 1, making all of this death-maneuvering null. It's all very strange and awkward.

Rich Cling to Life to Beat Tax Man [WSJ]