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December 2013 Archives

Filing a federal estate tax return to elect portability in Texas

One of the benefits provided under the federal estate tax exemption is the ability to elect portability. Portability is the ability of a surviving Texas spouse to reserve the remaining portion of the deceased spouse's estate tax exemption for use upon his or her death. For instance, if the deceased spouse's estate is worth $4 million, the surviving spouse may elect, through portability, to reserve the remaining $1.25 million to add to his or her $5.25 million (for 2013) exemption making the surviving spouse's exemption $6.5 million.

Medical powers of attorney are essential to Texas estate planning

Many Texas residents believe that a will is the extent of a good estate plan. However, a will is typically only useful when a person passes away. There are other documents, such as durable and medical powers of attorney, that can save a family a good deal of frustration should an individual become incapacitated in such a way as to be unable to make important decisions.

Texas estate administration includes access to email accounts

Texas residents may not realize how much of their lives are conducted online. Technological advances allow individuals to receive their bills and account statements through email, as many companies provide a "paperless" option for account holders. This is convenient for everyone involved, unless the account holder has died. Estate administration gets complicated when an executor or heir is unable to access an email account.

Digital assets and the distribution of property in Texas estates

When it comes to estate planning, people in Texas may forget the digital assets that many individuals now have. It may not seem as though they have a lot of monetary value, but many are surprised that some of them do. Frequent flier miles, bitcoin accounts, PayPal and iTunes accounts may have monetary value, while others may have only sentimental value. Either way, they may be included in the distribution of property after death.

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