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Trust and Estate Tax Planning

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Steven E Miller, CPA PC

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Estates, Trusts and Wills

When asking clients or potential clients whether or not they have a Last Will & Testament, many reply “no.” In ALL cases, this assumption is incorrect. If you have not drafted your Last Will & Testament, the state you reside in has written one for you. In most all cases, the will written for you by the state does not meet the expectations or decisions you would have wanted fulfilled in the event of tragedy.

Here are some important items to consider:

  • If a married couple living in Texas has minor children and no Will, upon one of their deaths, the surviving members of the family could be made homeless by state law. Minor children are unable to own real property in Texas yet would inherit 50% ownership of the family home.
  • Most people are not aware of subtle changes to their existing wills that should be considered with the changes in estate tax laws as of January 2013.
  • There are many bizarre and unexpected results that can occur when you fail to plan via a Will or Trust. Many people think that since their estate value does not exceed $5 million in value, estate planning is not needed. Trusts are extremely valuable in protecting assets before and after death especially if you have children or grandchildren with substance abuse issues, predatory spouses or creditor issues.
  • Annual gifting to trusts [Crummey Trusts] is often employed for estate tax planning. These trusts may either be an efficient income tax strategy or be a complete income tax disaster depending on how its investments are structured.
  • Do you know the importance and implications of DSUE? Do you know what it is and how it might affect the surviving spouse of an estate?
  • Most don’t realize when a person passes away, their executor must file a final income tax return (Form 1040) for them AND an income tax return for the estate that begins on the date of their death.
  • Try to imagine the complications involved for someone owning assets (real estate, stocks, bonds, etc.) outside of the USA, who is a beneficiary of a foreign trust, or whose spouse is NOT a United States citizen.
  • What is the greatest planning step you can take to remove a tremendous burden from your family upon your passing?

These are just a few items to consider. They form the foundation of your long-term strategic tax planning. Let us help be of assistance.

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15150 Preston Rd. Suite 210 , Dallas, TX 75248
Call Us: (214) 361-1131 • Fax: (214) 253-2138