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The scheduled estate tax reversion back to the $1 million exemption has caused many Maryland residents to consider their estate planning options sooner rather than later. Among those working to plan their estates before the end of the year have been landowners across the country with gas and oil interests. For these landowners, the process of estate planning may have implications beyond just drafting a trust in order to protect assets.

When trying to decide whether to gift certain assets, it is important that individuals carefully consider what gifting will mean. For some, gifting certain assets, such as transferring property, can mean hefty tax bills. Because landowners are often not inherently wealthy, it is advised that they consider whether it is prudent to gift assets prematurely.

Also, because land rich with gas and oil increases in value after drilling, it may be prudent for landowners to consider estate planning early on in order to lessen the tax blow. One source states that there are pitfalls that individuals with gas and oil interests should be aware of, such as bad advice. Another is the risk of spending time and money on estate planning, only to find that the value has not increased over time.

Most areas of estate planning involve careful consideration during and after the process is complete. Many individuals decide to utilize estate planning measures in order to secure their assets for the future. Due to the ever-changing tax laws and processes through which estate planning can be accomplished, it may benefit Maryland residents to carefully consider all available options. In addition, investigating areas that may cause complications later may benefit an estate plan. For individuals with gas and oil interests, investigating options for establishing a trust may be one way to ensure that assets are protected for the future.

Source: Post-Gazette.com, "Estate planning follows gas boom," Zack Needles, Nov. 26, 2012

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