Although federal estate tax consequences for a single person are nonexistent until the estate exceeds $5.45 million in assets, there are many other reasons why estate planning should be carried out for those Texas residents who are not in that high tax bracket. First, state assessments may impact the estate. Also, the federal exemptions may be lowered at any time that Congress decides to make a change. Such factors and others make it advisable for most people to have at least a simple will to frame their estate upon death.
In most estate planning situations in Texas and elsewhere, a corporate fiduciary, such as a banking institution, will not be appointed as the representative or trustee in the will or living trust documents because that often proves to be an extraordinary and unnecessary expense. In the average decedent's estate, a family member or trusted friend is appointed in the simple will as the personal representative of the estate. As discussed previously, the broad functions of the representative are to locate and collect the assets, pay the taxes, administrative expenses and bills, and then make final net distribution of the estate residue to the beneficiaries.