People in Texas realize the importance of preparing for the future, such as investing for retirement purposes, but they are often not as excited about engaging in estate planning. After all, estate planning requires both time and effort, and people naturally prefer not to discuss the topic of death. The process can be more manageable, however, if ones breaks up the process into individual tasks.
Posts tagged "trusts"
Not matter how much wealth you have been able to accumulate during your life, it is vital to have a functioning estate plan. Indeed, estate planning is not just about distributing money to your heirs. Estate planning is about making life easier on your heirs when you are gone, and it is also about making life easier on your caretakers in the event that you become incapacitated.
Whether you have a parrot, a cat, a dog or an iguana, you may have some very real concerns about your pet's future and how your pet will be taken care of after you are gone. This is where pet trusts can help. Indeed, considering how much people love their pets, is not uncommon for a specially designed pet trust to be the most important part of a Texas resident's estate plan.
Many in Texas and elsewhere thrive on the challenge of taking care of household projects and repairs themselves in an attempt to save on the costs they might incur if hiring a professional. Some have a similar mindset where finances and estate planning are concerned. A recent article suggested caution in this area and outlined the pros and cons of do-it-yourself planning when it comes to trusts, wills and estates.
When it comes to planning their estates, most Texas residents want to know how they can limit the tax burdens that their heirs might face. Estate tax planning is very important for wealthy individuals to consider -- especially individuals who have estates close to or in excess of $5.43 million. Texas residents with estates this large will want to know how federal estate taxes will apply to them and develop strategies to limit these tax liabilities.
Many Texas residents are familiar with the work of comedian and actor Robin Williams. When Williams died late last year, he did so having put together an estate planning package that he believed would address the distribution of his estate between his intended heirs. While it appears that the more significant assets were handled through the use of various trusts, his surviving family members are currently embroiled in a struggle over many of his personal belongings.
While it is true that Texas residents may complete the estate planning process for their relatives, it is also true that they are getting something out of it as well. Indeed, knowing that an estate plan is going to help loved ones avoid estate taxes and knowing that one's estate will be distributed the way one wants can provide peace of mind. What, then, are the vital elements of great estate planning?
Setting up a trust is one thing. Choosing the person who will be in charge of investing the assets within the trust is another. That person must be skilled at maintaining records, handling taxes and staying on top of payments to the beneficiaries of the trust. That person is the trustee, and he or she will usually be a family member, trusted friend, financial professional or perhaps yourself. Alternatively, hybrid trusts exist in which a Texas trustee is named to administer the trust, but a financial professional is hired to invest the assets.
Thinking about the day our lives will come to an end is frightening, and most Texas residents put it off for as long as possible. What that means is that they put off estate planning too. In fact, as unbelievable as it may sound, over half of Americans who have children do not have a fully planned estate on file.
One of the mot difficult aspects of estate planning is trying to figure out who will get what. It is likely one of the biggest reasons why Texas residents tend to put off completing the task. Indeed, a lot of consideration is needed on an emotional and financial level, and also in terms of family dynamics, when trying to figure out how one's estate should be distributed. Fortunately, wills, trusts and various asset distribution plans can be designed in a way to avoid the risk of problems further on down the line.