The Marcellus Shale’s economic impact on Central Pennsylvania is potentially far-reaching and long-term. For landowners, the possibility of substantial wealth associated with an oil and gas lease may be both exciting and terrifying. At Steinbacher, Goodall & Yurchak, we are committed to alleviating your concerns by formulating and implementing a plan to achieve your goals regarding payments received as a result of your oil and gas lease, both during your life and after your death.
Many landowners have experienced a tremendous financial windfall as a result of the bonus payments that are typically received upon the signing of an oil and gas lease. However, because Marcellus Shale activity is expected to span several decades, these landowners may also acquire substantial wealth in the form of ongoing royalty payments. Many challenges accompany this newfound prosperity, and can often leave you feeling confused and overwhelmed. While it is never too late to start, it is often advantageous to develop and implement a plan for dealing with your oil and gas interests well before any payments are received.
The potential affluence that is associated with the leasing and drilling of oil and gas interests adds a layer of complexity to your estate plan. You will need assistance with choosing the proper entities to own your oil and gas interests (and any resulting royalty payments) during your life to ensure maximum creditor protection and minimal taxation. You will also need to consider factors that may play a role in protecting the wealth for future generations, such as federal estate and gift taxes; the debt, divorce, disability, or death of a beneficiary; and whether or not a beneficiary’s share should be distributed all at once or spread out over time. Your newfound wealth may provide you with opportunities you may not have previously thought possible, such as charitable giving or providing for a loved one’s education. Our office will confidently guide you through these complicated issues and enable you to be comfortable in your decisions.
At Steinbacher, Goodall & Yurchak, we recognize that each client’s situation is unique, and we invest the time and attention necessary to gain an understanding of your goals and concerns. Whether your goal is to preserve the wealth for future generations, minimize income or federal estate tax consequences, protect your assets from creditors, or a combination of all three, our attorneys will draft a comprehensive written plan that provides several options tailored to your situation and address the advantages and disadvantages of each one. We provide guidance in the decision making process and offer recommendations that will enable you to achieve your goals. We implement your plan through carefully drafted documents including trusts, hydrocarbon deeds, and assignments, and often incorporate your oil and gas lease planning into our other service areas such as business succession planning, long-term care planning, and retirement planning in order to ensure that your wealth is protected for yourself and your beneficiaries.