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August 2013 Archives

Texas wills and trusts aren't just about taxes

Many people in Texas may be under the impression that the reason for an estate plan is to reduce or eliminate estate taxes. Those who are of that school of thought may feel free to ignore the need for wills and other estate planning documents since the estate tax exemption is over $5 million per person now. However, there are numerous other reasons to have an estate plan, and with the attention taken off of taxes, those reasons can become the focus.

What is the timing for portability and estate tax returns?

The portability election, or the right to pass on a deceased spouse's $5.25 million estate tax exemption to the surviving spouse, has to be made within a certain time frame. That time frame is tied to the filing of estate tax returns. Anyone can make the election, but the trick is to know when and how.

Choosing backup beneficiaries for Texas trusts

Ordinarily, when a trust is created, the person creating the trust is doing with a primary beneficiary already in mind. Many people fail to consider who will be the beneficiary of the trust if the primary is incapacitated or deceased. Who becomes the backup beneficiary, or contingent beneficiary, may be just as important as the primary beneficiary for most Texas trusts.

Sprinkle trusts can be helpful in the distribution of property

There are times when it may not be in the best interest of an adult child to leave them money outright. Certain life circumstances may preclude the adult child from being able to handle an inheritance. This is where so-called "sprinkle trusts" can come in handy for the distribution of property.

Wills are important for Texas farmers looking to bequeath land

Keeping the family farm in the family can be tricky, but careful estate planning can help. Wills are definitely important for any Texas rancher or farmer wanting to pass on that land to the generations of the future. Luckily, Congress has made the process somewhat easier with some changes that were made to the estate tax laws for 2013.

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