ADDED: Let me front-page something Clyde said in the comments to yesterday's post noting the death of Elizabeth Edwards:
This is probably an inappropriate question, but if as some have speculated, she knew the end was near and stopped taking the drugs: Did she decide to check out in December before the Death Tax kicks back in in 2011? Dying before January would be very lucrative for heirs, as opposed to hanging on until January 1st and having her estate get slammed with a 55% tax (or I think 35% if the deal Obama made with the Republicans goes through)...AND: Irene said:
Rich people like Elizabeth Edwards plan for death, and their lawyers draft dispositions that minimize the impact of the estate tax. She knew she was dying, and she probably had a plan that gave a good chunk to charity. She also had plenty of warning since her initial diagnosis, and she could take advantage of making lifetime gifts to her children.I didn't realize they were still married. Did they stay married as a tax-planning scheme?
If she didn't plan, then everything passes to John Edwards without any tax implications. They're still married, and there is an unlimited marital deduction for spouses.