Wealthy or Not - Estate Planning in Texas: Strategies to Minimize Beneficiary Tax Implications

March 12, 2024
Bradley Campbell
Girl at computer with the word TAX next to her depicting estate planning in Texas.
The current landscape of gift tax and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax exclusions in 2024 offers a window of opportunity for strategic estate planning. Proactive planning, tailored to both federal and state-specific laws, is key to maximizing wealth transfer under these favorable conditions.
Bradley Campbell Tyler and Mineola TX Lawyer
Bradley Campbell
Bradley Campbell has over 35 years of experience. A trusted advisor and counselor, Attorney Campbell will help you find solutions for your case by focusing on personal attention, communication, and professionalism. If you need an attorney for probate, business law, or real estate with the experience and understanding to serve you with the individualized care and attention that your case deserves. Attorney Campbell provides consultations throughout the week at our convenient locations in Tyler, TX and Mineola, TX.


The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act's (TCJA) higher estate and gift tax exemptions sunset in 2026 has estate owners of all wealth levels updating their estate plans to minimize the tax implications to their beneficiaries. Whether you're wealthy or have a modest nest egg you're looking to grow and pass on to future generations, consider estate planning in Texas to help lower the tax burden on your recipients.

Even if higher exemption amounts mean little or nothing to you, estate planning that looks ahead to the tax implications for your heirs will help gift or pass on more money to them. This blog highlights three strategic options for your Texas estate plan.

How Taxes Impact Givers and Recipients of Monetary Gifts and Estate Assets

According to the IRS Government Estate and Gift Tax FAQs, these taxes impact large amounts of money or assets for the person initiating the transfer while they are alive and their heirs once they are deceased. You can think of the exemption limits as a basic exclusion amount (BEA) where the "credit" is applied to gifts first, and any remaining exemption amounts go towards estate assets received. 

Fidelity estimates that The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act's (TCJA) increased inflation-adjusted gift and estate tax exclusion limits to nearly double for the tax years 2018 through the last day in 2025, increasing the individual exclusion amount to close to $14 million and a married couple to around $27 million in 2024.

Trusts For Strategic Estate Planning in Texas

Individuals or families with a home, retirement accounts, investments, or other types of wealth at any age are wise to talk with an attorney in Texas about estate planning. The pending reversal of higher gift and estate tax exclusion amounts highlights four estate planning strategies individuals or families can use to benefit their beneficiaries even if they won't ever transfer estate assets over $7 million—$14 million. Consider implementing a trust in your estate plan. Read our blog, Asset Protection Trust: Secure Your Wealth and Future for more on trusts.

Irrevocable Trusts 

Irrevocable trusts remove the assets in them from your estate, but they aren't immune to taxes. Depending on the type of irrevocable trust, the trust can pay income tax on undistributed gains, or the beneficiary pays taxes as income on money received from the trust. 

A residence trust is an irrevocable trust in which your home is held in the trust's name, listing you as the beneficiary. You can live in the home while it's in the trust. Your home is no longer a taxable asset; you no longer own it. 

Spousal Lifetime Access Trusts (SLATs)

SLATs enable one spouse to fund a trust for the other spouse while the gifting spouse is alive. Each spouse can fund a trust for the other. The beneficiary spouse has limited access to the funds and avoids estate taxes on any appreciation. 

Permanent life insurance

If structured properly, permanent life insurance proceeds are typically not subject to estate taxes. The proceeds offer liquidity in paying owed estate taxes or replacing funds for taxes already paid. 

For an experienced estate planning attorney in Tyler or Mineola, book a consultation with Bradley Campbell.

Planning for Your Beneficiaries

Individuals or families with a home, retirement accounts, investments, or types of wealth at any age are wise to talk with an attorney in Texas about estate planning. You can create or update an estate plan that reduces your beneficiaries' tax burden. I invite you to book a consultation with Campbell Law Firm. Together, we can create a plan that brings peace of mind and security for your future and those you care about.

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