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Estate and Tax Planning

Estate & Gift Tax Planning

Estate and gift taxes are voluntary taxes that can easily be avoided with planning.  Few estates and individuals now are subject to estate and gifts taxes due to recent legislation increasing the tax exclusion amount to over $5,000,000.  However, if one is subject to these estate, they are at a high rate and in the long term can substantially reduce assets passing to one’s family members.   Most estate and gift planning now is not tax based but is based on protecting surviving spouses and other family members, along with structuring charitable gifts to properly prepare for one’s community legacy.   We have a team of attorneys and financial professionals available to assist our clients develop an individualized estate and lifetime gifting plans in order to provide for their loved ones in customized and unique ways.   

Click here to review an example of an estate plan

What estate & gift tax planning tools are available?

There are a variety of tools available for estate and gift tax planning. Please review the options below and contact our team for more information.  We are available to answer all of your questions.  

Estate Planning documents needed in Texas
  • Last Will and Testament
  • Revocable Trust with a "Pour Over" Last Will and Testament
  • Review and confirm all beneficiary designation forms for IRAs, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, bank accounts, brokerage accounts
  • Review titles for all real property and personal property (requiring titles)
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Medical Power of Attorney
  • Directive to Physicians
  • HIPPA Release
  • Designation of Guardians of the Person and the Estate
  • Do not resuscitate directive for the home (if elected)
Texarkana, Texas

Estate Planning Tools
Estate planning tools include Irrevocable Grantor Trust, ILIT (Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust), Revocable Living Trust, Pour Over Will, Advanced Directivies, and Powers of Attorneys (POA).

Learn more about estate planning tools here.

Recent updates -

Texas Statutory Durable Powers of Attorney; changes effective 1/1/2014 - click here to read more

Portability Estate Tax
Portability of the Estate Tax Applicable Exclusion Amount - There's a new rule that permits the Applicable Exclusion Amount to increase where a decedent is survived by his or her spouse. The shorthand expression for that increase is "portability". The new portability provisions are complicated, but usher in what some refer to as a "new age" for planning.

To learn more about the portability estate tax, click here.

Transfers to Spouses with Non-US Citizenship
Estate planning for married couples often involves one spouse transferring assets to the other spouse either at death or even during life.  In most cases, this is simple because of the unlimited marital deduction allowing spouses to transfer assets to one another free of gift or estate taxes.  However, planning becomes more complicated if one or both spouses are not U.S. citizens.  There are various estate and gift tax implications of leaving assets at one’s death, or making lifetime gifts, to a non-U.S. citizen spouse. 

New Boston, Texas
Gifts to Minors
There are several ways you can make gifts to your minor children or grandchildren.  If your goal is to fund education, certain strategies are better suited for that.  A separate summary, Choices for Funding Education, discusses the choices for funding a child or grandchild’s education.  This summary will give an overview of the main choices to be considered for gifts to minors when education funding is not the primary goal.


Generation Skipping
 A tax-efficient estate plan should address not only the estate tax but also the generation –skipping transfer (GST) tax.  Common GST tax planning involves establishing trusts for grandchildren and future generations.  Generally, the longer these trust last, the more estate tax that can be avoided.  Just how long such a trust can last depends on the State in which you establish the trust.  Some states, such as Delaware, would allow the trust to last as long as your want.

Gifts to Spousal Trust
An often overlooked but simple planning opportunity is the making of annual exclusion gifts to an irrevocable trust for the benefit of a spouse (instead of outright gifts directly to the spouse).  The gifts are designed to intentionally fail to qualify for the marital deduction so that the annual exclusion applies instead.  By utilizing the annual exclusion instead of the marital deduction, the transferred wealth that remains in the trust will be excluded from both the transferor spouse’s estate and the transferee spouse’s estate.

2503(c) Trust
 A 2503(c) Trust is a trust established to hold gifts for one child until age 21.  This form of irrevocable trust is named after the section of the Internal Revenue code upon which it is based.  As a general rule, a gift to an irrevocable trust does not qualify for the annual gift tax exclusion ($14,000 for 2013).  However, a gift to a trust that meets the requirement of Section 2503(c) will indeed qualify for the annual gift tax exclusion. This summary will give an overview of the requirement and characteristics of a 2503(c) Trust.

To learn more about 2503(c) trusts please contact us.

Health and Education Exclusion Trust
Your estate plan might include transfers to children, grandchildren and further generations.  Transfers of wealth to grandchildren (and beyond) are subject to the generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax and its current $5,000,000 exemption.  However, if you are charitable inclined, a special trust can be established to further maximize wealth transfers to your grandchildren and beyond.  This trust is known as a “Health and Education Exclusion Trust,” or a HEET.

To learn more about Health and Education Exclusion trusts please contact us.

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 impacts many of our clients and our team at Guaranty's Wealth Management Group invites you to visit with us so we can jointly review your current estate and gift tax planning and discuss how these changes may impact your current planning. 
For a brief overview of the estate and gift tax provisions of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, please click here.

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