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Texas estate planning can include trusts

Readers in Texas may be interested to learn about the specifics of a new law in the area of estate planning. The estate planning law relates to the portability of the estate tax exemption. This could affect some 99 percent of those who have estates valued between $5 and $10 million, a recent report notes.

Portability means that a surviving spouse is able to retain the value of the exemption of their deceased spouse. This is a change from the past when, at the time of death of one spouse, the exemption disappeared, thus lowering the value to the surviving spouse of the estate tax exemption. Now, more of the assets of a couple can be protected from tax when the last of the spouses dies.

Under the new rules that apply to those of us in Texas and others across the nation, a total exemption of $10.68 million per couple is allowed. This is delineated between the spouses in the amount of $5.34 million per person. When one of the spouses dies, the amount applies to their surviving spouse, thus doubling the exemption. This amount is expected to increase as time goes on.

There are many other benefits to the new estate planning rules as they apply to portability, the recent article notes. Because of this, it can be helpful for people in our state to consider seeking information about the changes to the estate planning process as they begin. This will help to ensure that the best outcome is achieved and that their wishes for asset distribution are adhered to when they die.

Source: Forbes.com, Estate Planning For The 99%, Deborah L. Jacobs, Jan. 19, 2014

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