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Estate and Gift Taxes and Choosing Beneficiaries (Houston Bar Association)

This article is adapted from content created by the Houston Bar Association in its Elder Law Handbook (2016–2017 edition). It includes information on paying estate taxes and choosing beneficiaries.

Elder Law Handbook overview

The Houston Bar Association's Elder Law Handbook (for 2016–2017) contains information about resources specific to Harris County, plus material about Texas elder law and federal estate and gift taxes.

The handbook is in a question-and-answer format, divided into elder law topics. All elder law issues cannot be addressed in one handbook. But it may give you an overview of your rights and remedies.

This handbook is based on Texas law and is meant to inform you, not advise you. Talk to a lawyer about your situation.

Where can I learn about estate taxes?

One question the Houston Bar Association's Elder Law Handbook (2016–2017) addresses is estate taxes. The 2016–2017 edition of the handbook may not reflect the most recent changes to the tax code. Talk to a tax attorney or other professional to evaluate your options fully. If you need help finding an attorney,  use TexasLawHelp.org's legal help finder tool or call the State Bar of Texas Lawyer Referral and Information Service.

Who pays the estate or gift tax?

The Houston Bar Association's Elder Law Handbook (2016–2017) talks about who pays estate or gift taxes. The person making the transfer (though it's usually the decedent’s estate or the donor of a lifetime gift) pays the gift tax.

The 2016–2017 edition of the Elder Law Handbook may not reflect the most recent changes to the tax code. Talk to a tax attorney or other professional to evaluate your options fully. One way to find an attorney is with TexasLawHelp.org's legal help finder tool.

Who should be your IRA beneficiary?

The Houston Bar Association's Elder Law Handbook (2016–2017) talks about how to make sure you have properly designated beneficiaries for your retirement accounts. To ensure that your IRAs are distributed to the beneficiaries you want, put it in writing with your IRA custodian. The handbook also helps you decide whether or not to name your spouse as the beneficiary.

The 2016–2017 edition of the Elder Law Handbook may not reflect the most recent changes to the tax code. Talk to a tax attorney or other professional to evaluate your options fully. To find legal help, use TexasLawHelp.org's legal help finder tool, or call the State Bar of Texas Lawyer Referral and Information Service.

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CLICK HERE For the full PDF on Estate and Gift Taxes 

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