The Law Offices of Kennedy & Jackson
713-783-7444 | Email
Failure to create a solid and carefully crafted estate plan can have disastrous consequences for families with significant assets.
Without prudent forethought and cautious planning to minimize estate taxes, you run the risk of losing a very high percentage of your assets to the federal government upon your death. Your intended heirs may be left with bequests of a far lower value than you intended.
PLANNING FOR ESTATE TAX CONSEQUENCES
In 2008, federal estate taxes apply to estates valued at more than $2 million. In 2009, the federal estate tax will apply to estates valued at more than $3.5 million. Estate assets over and above $3.5 million will be taxed at a rate of 45 percent. Currently, both the estate tax and generation skipping tax are repealed for 2010. Barring changes in the law, in 2011, federal estate taxes will apply to estates valued at $1 million or more, and the rate will increase to 55 percent.
Some families with large estates believe they can avoid the estate tax by making significant gifts to their intended heirs before death. Any knowledgeable estate tax planning attorney will tell you, however, that significant pre-death gifts will still be taxed upon death via the gift tax. Thus, making wholesale gifts of your assets before death will not avoid taxation. And if you attempt to circumvent estate taxes by making gifts or transferring assets in trust to grandchildren, the generation-skipping transfer tax (the GST tax, also sometimes known as the grandparent tax) will apply.
Without proper estate tax planning, your accumulated assets will be lost to taxes before your chosen heirs can enjoy the benefits of your gifts. At The Law Offices of Kennedy & Jackson, we design estates with multiple generations in mind.
ESTATE TAX PLANNING CAN MINIMIZE DEATH TAXES AND MAXIMIZE CONTINUED FAMILY CONTROL OF FAMILY ASSETS AND BUSINESSES
A proper estate plan uses as many legal tools as necessary to properly protect the family’s assets during life and properly distribute assets upon death, minimizing exposure to estate taxes and maximizing the percentage of assets that are distributed to heirs as opposed to turned over to the government.
Estate plans for high net worth individuals should also take into consideration the critical importance of multigenerational asset protection. You want to protect your assets during your lifetime from exposure to creditors and lawsuits. You also want to protect your assets after your own death, to make sure they remain available to your heirs, who may themselves become the targets of creditors or lawsuits.
Are you expecting an inheritance? Are you aware that many estate planning objectives can and should be accomplished by your parents in their estate plan? If you are expecting an inheritance, it may be beneficial to encourage your parents to seek competent legal advice for true multigenerational planning.
Estate planning for complex estates also often includes planning for the future of a family-owned business upon the death of the current partners. Business succession planning intersects in a complex way with estate planning and asset protection.
OBTAIN SOPHISTICATED ESTATE TAX PLANNING AND ASSET PROTECTION ADVICE
For decades, The Law Offices of Kennedy & Jackson has prepared and maintained estate plans on behalf of Texas families with multimillion-dollar estates. Our attorneys limit their legal practice exclusively to estate planning and asset protection. Our two attorneys are each board-certified in estate planning and probate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and each is a frequent lecturer on estate planning topics to other lawyers throughout Texas.
CONTACT THE LAW OFFICES OF KENNEDY & JACKSON
Our law office is located in the Galleria area of Houston, with free on-site parking available next to our office building. We provide a complimentary — and confidential — initial consultation to all new potential clients.
To schedule an appointment with one of our lawyers, call 713-783-7444 or send us an email.