Eco-friendly homes are those that are built using environmentally conscious materials and appliances. In recent years, eco-friendly building in Texas has shifted from one-off construction to budding communities of sleek, sustainable housing.
Eco-friendly property owners all have one thing in common: Each of them has taken the initiative to plan for their future—as well as that of the environment. The next natural step for any eco-friendly property owner is effective estate planning.
Like any property owner, eco-friendly property owners should always have a will in place to establish how their assets will be distributed and under what conditions. Leaving a sustainable legacy is, after all, a great accomplishment to be proud of. Make sure your estate plan reflects your sustainable living ideas.
Drafting an effective will can save your heirs countless headaches down the line. Moreover, failure to do so could result in your assets being distributed to relatives according to a pre-specified formula, with no regard to your personal preferences. Furthermore, under Texas law, if you pass away without an enforceable will and without any living relatives, then the state can retain your assets, including your home.
Unfortunately, there are many reasons why a court might not enforce a will. For example, a handwritten will penned by someone other than the testator is not valid in Texas. Hiring an experienced estate planning law firm to draft your will can help ensure that the courts will honor your final wishes about your home and other valued assets.
Important Tax Advantaged Savings Vehicles
An important consideration for eco-friendly homeowners is whether to write the property into a will or whether to pass it to someone else prior to death through a “donation.” This decision has important tax implications in Texas. In general, transferring a home via a will rather than as a donation during one’s life will save the recipient a substantial amount of taxes. This is because Texas repealed its state inheritance tax in 2015.
The decision about whether to pass along property through an inheritance or a donation is not entirely straightforward, however.
For example, conflicts may arise between heirs in deciding what to do with an inherited home. Leaving a single home to multiple children can therefore create a potential arena for sibling conflicts. To prevent this situation, some eco-friendly property owners choose to liquidate their homes, leaving the money in an account for future heirs. This solution, however, may create a higher tax burden for the heirs.
One often effective solution to this problem applies to homeowners who are over 65 years old. Those homeowners can sell their property without paying taxes, such that their heirs will get the full benefit of the sale.
Texas Attorneys Are Available by Phone Today
If you are an eco-friendly property owner or a prospective buyer, the right law firm can help you protect the future of your estate. The law firm of McCulloch & Miller, PLLC can help give you peace of mind that your wishes regarding your property will be honored after you pass. Our Texas firm has decades of experience helping clients develop and carry out effective estate plans through wills and other estate planning instruments. Contact us today for a consultation by calling 713-333-8900.