Search Site
Menu
Estate Planning: One Size Doesn’t Fit All – Part I (Over Planning)

With the increase of software packages and online companies that provide forms to complete your estate planning many people think their wills or trusts should be “one size fits all.”  Unfortunately, there are very few things in the law that apply equally well to all people and all circumstances and estate planning is no exception.  Instead, it is important to be thoughtful about your approach to estate planning because—if for no other reason—you will no longer be around to clear up any misunderstandings or difficulties created by poorly crafted documents.

In 2013, the American Taxpayer Relief Act (“ATRA”) was signed into law allowing US citizens to give up to $5.0m dollars ($5.45m[1] in 2016 after being indexed for inflation), at the time of their death without any estate taxes being owed.  This marked a significant increase from the $1m dollar exemption that would apply if the ATRA was not passed and marked a change in estate planning for the majority of clients.  First, the exemption amount meant that a much smaller percentage of clients needed to engage in estate tax planning.  Second, changes in the rates for capital gains taxes placed estate tax planning at odds with long-term income tax planning.  The result: We frequently see client with estate plans that are more complex than is warranted by their circumstances, giving plans and/or assets levels.

As alluded to above, overly complex planning to deal with estate taxes may have a negative impact on the amount of income taxes that are ultimately paid on the property you leave behind. Possibly more important, overly complex planning tends to lead to more expensive and complex legal issues when administrating your plan.  The various trusts and entities that were conceived in a time when the estate tax exemption was much lower, your asset level was higher and/or your circumstances were more complex may no longer be applicable.  Accordingly, it is important to remain vigilant regarding the size and complexity of your estate plan and tailor those plans to the law and your circumstances as they exist now.

[1] https://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Whats-New-Estate-and-Gift-Tax

 

Royce Lanning

Phone: 281-367-1222

Fax: 281-210-1361

[email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact a Dedicated Texas Business Lawyer To Schedule a Consultation
Call 281-367-1222 or contact us online to schedule a meeting.

Strong In Action

  • Spring 2019

    The Strong Firm represents borrower in $42.3 million HUD construction loan for multifamily real estate development in Walton County, Florida.

    Read More
  • Spring 2019

    The Strong Firm acts as legal counsel for borrower in $32.1 million HUD construction loan for multifamily real estate development in Conroe, Texas.

    Read More
  • Spring 2019

    The Strong Firm aids borrower in $31.7 million HUD construction loan for multifamily real estate development in Nueces County, Texas.

    Read More
  • Spring 2019

    The Strong Firm represents borrower in the refinancing of a $3.57 million commercial mortgage-backed security for a commercial office facility in Montgomery County, Texas.

    Read More
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  • Peer Rated 2019 Award

Recent Blog Posts

2019 Legislative Update – Texas POA Laws

In odd numbered years, Texas property owners associations (POAs) must consider any new laws affecting POAs that became effective following the Texas legislative session earlier that year. For 2019, a few such laws recently went into effect specific to residential POAs (but excluding condominium associations). HOUSE BILL 234 – Protection of
Read More
2019 Legislative Update – Texas POA Laws

Wrapping Up a Decade: Meaningful New Year’s Resolutions

As 2019 comes to a close, it’s a good opportunity to reflect on what we’ve accomplished and make resolutions for what we hope to do in 2020. I have never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions as they often seem like short-term, immeasurable goals. Things like “I am going
Read More
Wrapping Up a Decade: Meaningful New Year’s Resolutions

Not Worth the Paper It’s Written On

We have all heard the saying that something is “not worth the paper it is written on.”  This is usually said about a contract that is unenforceable or even if enforceable, it may have no value because the party has no ability to pay or perform under the contract.  Many
Read More
Not Worth the Paper It’s Written On

“So…What Happens to My Bitcoin When I Die?” Modern Estate Planning for Digital Assets and Cryptocurrencies

Millennials have complicated everything. Socializing in person wasn’t enough, so they created Facebook. Dollars weren’t enough, so they created Bitcoin. Every new app, technology or cryptocurrency brings with it more uncertainty legal uncertainty around these digital assets. Are they currency? Are they property? Can they be gifted? Can they be
Read More
“So…What Happens to My Bitcoin When I Die?” Modern Estate Planning for Digital Assets and Cryptocurrencies
  • Video Vault


    Watch videos done by our legal team to gain a better understanding of your legal needs. Our lawyers give video insight into areas such as Real Estate, Business Law, Mergers & Acquisitions and much more.

Pay Retainer Online

Use our easy-to-use and secure online payment feature.
We accept all major credit cards.

Pay Your Retainer

Contact us

Quick Contact Form