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Estate Tax Archives

To be or not to be a retirement fund: The Supreme Court rules

The U.S. Supreme Court has thrown a monkey wrench into the disposition of a useful estate planning tool. The circumstances are a little out of the ordinary, but the decision clarifies a piece of the tax code that a few federal circuit courts interpreted differently.

Tax bills for selling basketball team could be astronomical

For many people, estate planning comes down to one thing: making sure that as much of the assets are passed down to the heirs who are supposed to inherit them. In many cases, this means developing strategies to minimize the impact of estate taxes.

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.

Keeping estate tax at a minumum when leaving an inheritance

Many Texas residents may not have to worry about reaching the federal estate tax exemption, but that does not necessarily preclude the need to minimize tax exposure. One of the main purposes of estate planning is to keep the amount of estate tax that may be due as low as possible. This may work well for the first spouse to pass away, but additional consideration may be needed to determine how estate taxes may impact the estate of the surviving spouse.

Changes in estate tax could require review of estate plans

Since the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA), many Texas residents may need to review their estate plans. The increase in the estate tax exemption may necessitate changes in an estate plan in order to ensure that a person's assets are handled in the manner in which they intend. This could be especially important for people that want to make sure their spouses have access to assets outside of a family trust.

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.

How Obama's budget could affect estate tax plans

Many Texas residents are aware that President Obama has proposed a number of changes within his 2014 budget. However, there are many who are unsure exactly how those changes could affect estate tax matters and the overall estate planning process. Each individual or family's situation is unique, but there are a number of important considerations that all Americans should note.

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