Berman & Asbel, LLP

Pennsylvania sees increase in estate planning due to gas and oil

After discoveries of "wet gas," a more valuable substance than "dry" gas, as it is a combination of methane and other components, in the Utica Shale regions of Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio, estate planners have seen an increase in landowners with gas and oil interests. Taking on oil and gas interests can be a sound investment, if handled property. Additionally, handing over such interests must be taken care of with great care due to the amount of financial interest there can be in these assets.

There are multiple options available for materials and mineral rights such as oil and gas in regards to complex estate planning. Deciding whether or not to sell those rights is the first step to cover. If holding on to them seems like the better option, putting it into a will can ensure that the interests stay within the family or go to a specific beneficiary.

Creating a legal entity to control the interests may be an option, depending on the financial situation of the family and their stake. Planning an estate as soon as possible and having a definite plan can assist with any tax issues, such as having to pay higher taxes.

Handling the future of investments after death can make the estate planning a more intimidating process than it might be otherwise. Additionally, many people do not want to think about the eventuality of an estate needing to be planned. However, an experienced attorney is issues like these can help to make the experience as stress-free and convenient as possible.

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

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