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What the SECURE Act 2.0 Means for Retirement Assets & Your Estate Plan

SECURE Act 2.0 & Your Estate Plan - Austin Estate Planning Lawyer

The Updated Legislation May Raise New Issues for Your Estate Plan. Here’s How.

The SECURE Act 2.0 may have advanced retirement planning in several ways while simultaneously creating new wrinkles and potential disruptions in existing estate plans. From minimum distributions to mandatory withdrawals, the rules for retirement accounts have changed with the SECURE Act 2.0. 

Find out what it all means for you and your estate plan by getting up to speed with: 

Your Guide to GRATs: A Tax-Savvy Trust to Leverage Before 2026

Your Guide to GRATs: A Tax-Savvy Trust to Leverage Before 2026 | Austin Trust & Estate Planning Lawyer

Find Out the Advantages of Setting Up GRATs Now, Ahead of Sunsetting Estate Tax Exemptions

Grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs) may offer some distinct advantages if you set them up before Dec. 31, 2025. That’s because federal estate tax exemptions and gift tax exclusions will be sunsetting on January 1, 2026, if the laws don’t change between now and then. 

If or when that happens, millions of dollars in available exemptions could disappear. 

If you know what’s coming and you’ve planned ahead, you could be sitting pretty a couple of years from now, with all your ducks in a row and some tax-savvy trusts, like GRATs, already set up to protect and advance your interests. 

On the other hand, if you ignore it all, you could miss out on the chance to do more with GRATs before federal estate tax exemptions change. That could leave you with higher tax bills. It may even make Uncle Sam one of your biggest beneficiaries. 

To find out how — and how to stop that from happening while there’s still time — you can get up to speed in about 2 minutes with these GRAT FAQs:

Potential Downsides of Ignoring an Estate Plan Until 2026

Potential Downsides of Ignoring an Estate Plan Until 2026 | Austin Estate Planning Lawyer

Putting an Estate Plan on the Backburner Could Backfire Soon. Here’s Why.

Estate planning doesn’t need to top your to-do list constantly, but there are some very good reasons it should be a priority before 2026. In fact, whether or not you currently have an estate plan, you’ll likely be better off creating one or reviewing the one you have before Jan. 1, 2026, instead of after. 

To dial into why this is so important and the core issues at play, here are some insightful answers, explaining: 

How 5 Trusts Can Help You Ahead of the 2026 Estate Tax Exemption Changes

How 5 Trusts Can Help You Ahead of the 2026 Estate Tax Exemption Changes - TAW Law TX

One or More of These Trusts Could Offer You Several Advantages, Especially by 2026. See What May Be Right for You.

The moves you make or don’t make in the next couple of years could critically change your estate tax liabilities. That’s because sunsetting tax laws are set to cut current estate tax exemptions roughly in half on January 1, 2026, assuming no new tax laws are passed first. 

If you think that’s a problem for your heirs to worry about, think again. 

The changing exclusions apply to federal estate taxes and gift taxes, meaning they could affect large gifts made during your lifetime and:

  1. They could subject you to much greater tax liabilities if you haven’t taken the right steps ahead of time.
  2. It’s not too late to get up to speed with what’s happening, figure out your options, and put some prudent strategies in place now.

To that end, let’s walk through five trusts that can offer powerful flexibility and solutions to prepare for the 2026 estate tax exemption change. Those trusts include: 

  1. Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILITs)
  2. Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs)
  3. Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts (IDGTs)
  4. Spousal Lifetime Access Trusts (SLATs)
  5. Family Limited Partnerships (FLPs)

Community v. Separate Property in Texas Probate & Estate Planning

Community v Separate Property in Texas Probate

When a Spouse Dies in TX, Here’s What Happens to Community v. Separate Property

Widows and widowers in Texas don’t necessarily inherit everything when their spouse passes away. In fact, surviving spouses may — or may not — be legally entitled to various assets, depending on the nature of the community versus separate property, whether the deceased spouse left behind a valid will, and other factors. 

While that can raise some complex and challenging issues in and outside of Texas probate, it doesn’t have to be confusing, especially for those who understand the following:


Wills Gone Wild: The Shocks & Surprises from 7 Astonishing Estates

Wills Gone Wild: The Shocks & Surprises from 7 Astonishing Estates | Austin Wills, Probate & Estate Planning Lawyer

Here’s What We Can Learn from Some of History’s Wildest Wills & the Battles That Ensued

Wills and last wishes can be as complex and unique as the people behind them. That can lead to some strange terms, bizarre requests, and even forgotten provisions in wills. It can also give rise to will contests, heated fights in probate court, and prolonged litigation. 

While that can happen with both modest and larger estates, the wills of some rich and famous folks truly take the cake when it comes to peculiar provisions, shocking requests, and the nearly unbelievable events they’ve unleashed.

Let’s find out what’s behind some of the most unusual wills on record and what’s come of them.

Joint vs. Contractual Wills in Texas: How Best Laid Plans Can Go Awry

Joint Wills vs. Contractual Wills in Texas | Austin Estate Planning Lawyer

When & Why Contractual Wills Are Used & How to Protect Your Interests as a Testator or Heir

Joint wills have been used for decades as a way for two parties to share one will when they have the same vision for their estate, fully agreeing on how to distribute their property. Better suited for simple estates with minimal beneficiaries, joint wills tend to come into play with spouses, domestic partners, and family members, particularly those looking for a seemingly easy way to simplify an estate plan and memorialize their wishes in a single document.

As straightforward as joint wills may appear on paper, the reality is they may not be the most prudent option for achieving testators’ shared objectives. In fact, with joint and contractual wills in Texas, specific limitations and distinct challenges can arise when it’s time to administer the will and enforce its terms. That can open up some disadvantages and unforeseen obstacles, some of which can spark contentious disputes in the future. 

Cryptocurrency & Blockchains in Estate Planning

Crypto & Blockchains in Estate Planning | Austin Estate Planning Lawyer

Key Considerations & Strategies for Digital Currency in Texas Estate Planning

Digital assets, like cryptocurrency, have proliferated wildly over the past decade or so, presenting exciting, yet risky, investing opportunities while raising complex new legal issues, particularly in the area of estate law. 

From tax liabilities and fiduciary responsibilities to accessibility and asset administration, digital currency requires unique considerations and prudent strategies to ensure its proper treatment in estate planning and administration in Texas.

Unpacking these intricate issues, this guide to cryptocurrency and blockchains in estate planning covers:

A Guide to Real Estate Privacy Trusts

Real Estate Privacy Trusts | Austin Trusts Lawyer | Law Office of Todd A. Wilson

How to Maintain Privacy & Protect Your Interests When You Own Property in Texas

Real estate privacy trusts (REPTs) can mask the individuals and businesses behind property transactions and real estate ownership in Texas, providing a powerful solution for maintaining anonymity in searchable, public records. Beyond the rich and famous, several parties can benefit from the privacy — and other advantages — provided by REPTs. 

Todd Wilson Attny answers questions about Privacy Trusts

To help you determine if this estate planning tool is right for you and your needs, this guide breaks down some key definitions, issues, benefits, and more, including: