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Texas estate planning should include tax considerations

As we have discussed in this column before, the potential changes to the estate tax have been a point of concern for many of our Texas readers. Now, many beginning to consider the estate planning process can rest easy after the U.S. Congress sought to make the amount of the estate tax exemption permanent. This is a change from recent years where annual adjustments were made to the amount of money in an estate subject to the exemption.

As a part of the fiscal cliff negotiations that filled the news here in Texas and across the nation, Congress was asked to make a determination as to the amount of the estate tax exemption. Because of the changes that came as a part of the Bush tax cuts, estate planning was a challenge for some seeking to plan for their heirs and beneficiaries. Now, the exemption rate of $5.12 million is set and is not scheduled for a change.

The amount of money included in the estate tax exemption is set at $5.12 million per person. This means that those who are estate planning can be sure that if their estate is valued less than that amount, their heirs will not have to pay the estate tax at the time of their inheritance. This is good news for many with estates that are of a smaller size.

Estate planning can be confusing for many. Because of the changes to laws, including the estate tax, a careful review of rules and any existing documents may be in order for many of our readers. Such actions will help to ensure that the wishes of an individual are properly addressed in estate planning documents.

Source:, “Senate makes estate tax permanent,” Arthur D. Postal, Jan. 1, 2013