Estate planning seminar planned Thursday at Gruenau Hall


   Many families who own property in the Eagleford Shale or other shale formations have come into newfound wealth on a large scale in the last few years. Along with feelings of happiness and gratitude, families often experience some anxiety and uncertainty over how best to manage, protect and preserve this wealth. There are many issues to consider.
   A primary consideration is how best to pass the mineral interests and other property on to heirs.
Parents have a choice between simply leaving property outright to children or instead, transferring it to a trust for the benefit of their children. Trusts can often be more beneficial as they help protect the property from creditors and divorce settlements. Moreover, trusts can also help reduce estate taxes when the assets ultimately pass from children to grandchildren.
   Many individuals do not realize that the current five million dollar (per person) estate tax exemption can be used during their lifetime. Thus, a married couple with a seven million dollar estate can elect to transfer a large part of their estate today in the form of a gift. The ability to make such a large gift free of gift taxes is something that has only recently become available as an estate planning tool. In the past, the largest lifetime gift available was limited to one million dollars, including the year 2010, when the estate tax was repealed. Recent legislation has extended the ability of mineral owners to make large gifts.
   Taking advantage of the five million dollar gift exemption is only part of the solution. Two other parts need to be considered: (1) making sure all gifts stay in the family versus going to in-laws or creditors; and (2) retaining some level of control over the assets by using the right gifting techniques.
   The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension DeWitt County in coordination with Johnson Bender and Company will provide an educational seminar to discuss the implications of the recent estate tax law changes, liability risks as well as asset protection strategies. The presentation will also discuss charitable planning and investment ideas.
   The seminar will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 18 at Gruenau Hall, eight miles north of Yorktown off FM 108. Supper will be provided for those attending. The seminar cost is $20, and the deadline to register is noon Thursday, April 18. Attendees are encouraged to preregister by calling the AgriLife Extension office in DeWitt County at 361-275-0816.
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