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March 2012 Archives

Beneficiaries: early estate planning in blended families

Blended families are now part of the landscape here in Texas and across the country. In fact, a recent report suggests that more than 40 percent of American adults have a step-relative of some sort. As folks live longer and more marriages end in divorce, the list of possible beneficiaries for an estate continues to expand.

Mega gift may limit taxes for beneficiaries

Texas residents may be unaware that there are many strategies in estate planning designed to limit the amount of tax due at the time of death. These strategies can include trusts, wills and mega gifts. Early estate planning can help a person maximize the potential for tax benefits to an estate and its beneficiaries.

Estate planning is important for all Texas residents

A large number of the residents of Texas, along with other Americans, do not have proper estate planning documents, a new report says. The numbers are surprising, showing that up to 92 percent of those under the age of 35 do not even have a basic will, let alone full estate planning provisions. This can leave a person's assets unprotected and may result in a long and costly probate process when the person dies.

Take advantage of estate tax laws before they change

With so many changes to estate taxes and how they are structured, it may be difficult for many Texas residents to keep it all straight. That is where estate planning comes in. By working with a dedicated professional, it may be possible to create a plan that maximizes the size of the estate while minimizing the impact of taxes.

Houston estate planning involves categorizing prized possessions

People can become attached to their possessions and collections that have been amassed over the years, often making it difficult to let go of them. For Houston residents, strong estate planning involves taking those collections and making sure that they are well taken care of, whether that means selling them or placing them in trusts.