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Dallas Estate Litigation and Planning Blog

How a Trust Could Help You Avoid Paying Inheritance Taxes

Estate planning can be uncomfortable. Nobody wants to contemplate their own demise. At the same time, you want your loved ones to be provided for after you die and for your estate to be properly distributed when you’re not there to oversee the distribution. And, having worked very hard to reach this point, you don’t want your estate to be frittered away by taxes and fees.

The solution may be a trust. Contact the estate planning lawyers at Staubus and Randall to learn how.

Irrevocable Trusts and Inheritance Tax

Of course, you will not be paying any inheritance or estate taxes. That duty will fall to your heirs and beneficiaries. The purpose of estate planning is to minimize the amount of taxes that need to be paid out from your estate. Your estate planner will explain how your estate is valued in more detail, but there are some things you need to know going into a planning session.

  • estate taxInheritance tax. This is a tax heirs must pay for the income they receive from the deceased. The state of Texas abolished inheritance tax in 2015. The inheritance tax is levied against the beneficiaries on the value of the portion of the estate they receive once they inherit.
  • Estate tax. Texas has no estate tax. The federal government taxes large estates valued at $11.7 million or higher. The value of the estate is determined prior to the beneficiaries taking their share; in other words, before it has been divided.
  • Revocable trust. These trusts allow you, the grantor, to move property in and out of the trust at will during your lifetime. Property in a revocable trust will be valued as part of the estate when it is reassessed following your death.
  • Irrevocable trust. When property is placed in an irrevocable trust, it cannot be removed until after you die. This means that when your estate is valued, anything in an irrevocable trust will not be included by the IRS.
  • Pour-over will. This type of will automatically transfers all of your current assets into your trust when you die, without the need for further action by your executor.

Estate planning to ensure that your heirs and beneficiaries can keep the largest portion of their inheritance can be a complex affair. Making things more complicated is the changing estate tax exemption. To keep pace with inflation and cost of living, the IRS adjusts the estate tax exemption annually according to a preset cap. This will change again in 2025.

If this sounds complicated, it is. Get in touch with us today and let us help you simplify the process.

Out of State Considerations

In our global community, it is not uncommon for people to have property, both tangible and intangible, in other states, possibly even other countries. Even with a properly managed trust, this other property may be subject to the estate and inheritance tax laws of that state. For instance, although Texas does not have an inheritance tax, Maryland does. Any property owned and transferred in Maryland will be governed by Maryland’s tax laws.

Your Dallas estate planning attorney can guide you through these complex regulations and make sure your wishes are properly stated in your trust. If there are conflicting laws in other states, it is better to discover them ahead of time than to have your heirs find out about them later.

How We Can Help

Anyone with an estate below $75,000 in Texas does not even need to leave a will. Their estate can be managed by the heirs with a simple acknowledgment to the court. If you have real property and large amounts of money and personal property that you want your loved ones to be able to keep after you are gone, you should have solid legal advice and estate planning, rather than trusting to the whims of fate.

trust tax attorney

The expert legal team at Staubus and Randall focuses exclusively on the details of estate planning and litigation. We want to be sure that people with even modest estates avoid costly legal battles and endless probate, and hand their property over to their heirs with a minimum of effort.

Our Dallas estate planning lawyers will review your assets and advise you about the best ways to protect them and your heirs and beneficiaries, including revocable and irrevocable trusts, living trusts, and pour-over wills. We will make certain that your final documents accurately reflect your wishes and desires in clear and concise terms.

We have been practicing estate and probate law in the Dallas area for many years. Contact the of Staubus and Randall at 214-691-3411 if you want to draft your will, need help with your estate planning, or have any other questions about property disposition. If you already have these documents and want help with amendments or codicils, we can work with you on those too.

Call us for a confidential consultation today.

The Firm

The attorneys at Staubus and Randall have over 100 years of combined experience in estate planning, probate, and litigation. We have the knowledge and skills to tackle complex legal issues, such as guardianships, will contests, fiduciary litigation, and trust litigation. We can also handle routine matters, such as estate administration, probating wills, heirship determinations, and other probate court matters.

Staubus and Randall received a preeminent AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating possible from a peer-rated legal service. This rating recognizes our hard work, dedication, and the case results we’re able to achieve.

Staubus & Randall Team

What Our Clients Say

"I recently had the occasion to hire Mr. Staubus for a hotly contested Guardianship matter. Mr. Staubus brought a rare combination of effectiveness, reasonableness and understanding of the human element involved. Mr. Staubus handled all things in a calm, highly competent, effective and reasonable way. It could not have been as easy as he made it seem. He's a credit to the Bar."

Jody

"Before retaining the guidance of the Staubus & Randall firm, I was at my wit's end trying to close an uncle's estate as a co-executor. In addition to dealing with difficult heirs, I had other pressing business issues coming up immediately on estate land in the middle of the Eagleford Shale including dealings with pipeline, seismic, oil & gas, and construction companies. The local bank also refused to give me access to information relating to the estate. This quickly became the most stressful and desperate time in my life...and then I found Joseph Legere who truly became my guardian angel. He was able to get all issues resolved efficiently and the estate fully closed. His professionalism, immense legal knowledge on a wide variety of topics, and amazing communication skills took the burdens off of me and quickly got closure. I am forever indebted to this firm for giving me my life back."

Martha

"Without exception, the legal service, professional attitude, prompt communication of your firm and your legal knowledge is second to none. I only wish I had an attorney here in Boston that could hold a candle to your experience and expertise. Working with you has been a pleasure, but even more, has made me believe that there are knowledgeable attorneys that do care about doing a good job. Thank you Keith! You may not truly understand how much of an impact you are having on peoples lives, but for me, you have helped change my life. As I begin making my dreams come true I can't help but remember none of this would be possible without you."

Joann

"Keith Staubus and Julie Blankenship and their team represented me in a jury trial in the probate court where the ownership of the business which I had worked hard to build was at stake. They successfully fought to preserve my business and my professional reputation, working masterfully to gain the support of the jury. I would not hesitate to hire them again in any bet-the-company litigation.”

Karen

"I have required legal representation twice in my life in two separate will contests. Both times I sought assistance from Keith Staubus and Staubus/Randall. Their service, approach, and determination to obtain results exceeded the other attorneys in each case. Mr. Staubus has always come across as genuine while being direct. He gets the process done in a timely manner with results. I will certainly use him again when and if any new challenges arise.”

David

"After my husband's death, I was devastated by having to defend against a vicious dispute over my husband's estate. Julie Blankenship and Keith Staubus made me feel very comfortable in this distressing situation. They were very tough and did an excellent job for me in obtaining a summary judgment in my favor without a full jury trial. I was glad to have them and Diane Walker in my corner to help me achieve an excellent result - I won! If I ever had to go back to probate court, I would hire them again.” - (will and trust construction case)

Flo

"If you need intervention for someone you love but don't know where to turn or who to turn to, Julie Blankenship and Keith Staubus helped me through the most difficult and stressful time in my life with a much loved family member. I now believe that good will triumph over evil. They fought for what was right, and good prevailed." (contested guardianship and will contest)

Janet

"As a professional money manager, I have used Ryan Randall's estate planning services both personally and for my clients. Ryan has exhibited three critical attributes in his work with me: (1) high intellectual capacity, (2) exceptional thoroughness, and (3) a total commitment to integrity. In today's litigious world, it can be quite costly not to "get things done right.” An added bonus to us was that we found one of the nicest people we could imagine.”

John

"I was represented by Keith Staubus as an income beneficiary in a lawsuit with the trustee of a family trust. Utilizing the expertise of a forensic accountant and his own trust expertise, Keith was able to negotiate a judicial modification of the trust providing for the buyout of my income interest for a substantial lump sum payment out of the trust, resulting in a win-win situation for all of the parties. I highly recommend Staubus/Randall for any trust disputes and trust modification actions."

Kathy

"I have been a wealth management specialist and retirement plan consultant with the Dallas/Fort Worth financial community for over 20 years. I have engaged Ryan Randall to work with a number of my best clients over the years, including business owners, professionals and families. My clients always appreciate Ryan’s straightforward approach to estate planning, asset protection planning and business succession planning. He makes even the most sophisticated estate planning strategies understandable."

Larry

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