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Estate planning in Texas merits periodic review

Updating an estate plan can assist Texas residents in making sure that their wishes for property distribution are followed after their deaths. A periodic review may benefit heirs as well as the individual engaged in estate planning. Additionally, making sure that an estate plan is up to date will avoid any surprises for beneficiaries when it comes time to settle an estate.

One of the areas to review concerns the distribution of assets. Life changes such as a new marriage, a divorce and the birth of a child are just a few of the circumstances that could alter a person's estate planning wishes. In some cases, a trust may be appropriate.

Trusts can be beneficial in many circumstances, but sometimes they may need alterations. For example, in some instances, it may be apparent that a particular child is less in need of assets because they have already accumulated a substantial amount on their own. Consequently, it may be appropriate to consider creating a generation-skipping trust to benefit grandchildren for educational or other purposes.

Changes in estate planning tax laws are important for Texans to consider. Under current law, the estate tax exemption is $5 million. Without congressional intervention, though, the exemption will drop to $1 million at the beginning of 2013. Following these proposed changes may benefit heirs and estate planners who could be surprised by an estate tax that had not been planned for prior to death.

A schedule of assets is often created as a part of estate planning documents. This list is subject to change as a person acquires new property over a lifetime. An update to this list will ensure that property is added to trusts that may exist and otherwise act as a guide for beneficiaries and those charged with settling an estate.

Reviewing estate planning documents can benefit both the creator and potential beneficiaries. Estate planning should be important to every person and making sure that your is up to date is the best way to ensure your wishes are followed.

Source: LifeHealthPro, "5 Important Steps to Update Estate Plans," Michael S. Fischer, April 9, 2012

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