Texans who are planning for the future when they have passed on will want to cobble together a comprehensive estate plan that will cover all the bases. However, it can be difficult to know what aspects to focus on. This is particularly true when there is a certain amount of wealth at stake. Complicated estate planning can be difficult and knowing what to pay strict attention to and what is less important are keys to the process. The following are deemed to be imperative: tax and estate planning, family communication, listening to the different perspectives, having a strong educational foundation, and creating a plan and sticking to it.
With tax and estate plans, the idea is to preserve as much as possible. There are inevitable taxes that come along with the transfer of an estate, but preparing for certain issues such as a spendthrift beneficiary, divorce and other issues that will arise can help to keep as much of the wealth as possible. Families might have trouble discussing these sensitive matters, but family disputes often emanate from a lack of communication. Younger people tend to be perceived as not understanding the value of money nor having the maturity to take part, but this might be a misconception. The only way to avoid this is to talk about it.
Along those same lines, the different generations might think each side is not listening to the other. Whether there is a family business, assets that accrued over the years or any other part of the family's portfolio, the sides discussing their positions can not only express their beliefs, but it can lead to flexibility in how the estate and wills will be crafted and dealt with. Education is always a good thing. This can integrate people into the planning process or it can mean going to classes to gather information and learn about how estate plans function.
Finally, a successful transfer of wealth often hinges on being organized. There will always be certain unavoidable variables that come up. Being as cognizant as possible is one sure fire way to prevent long-term problems. Of course, discussing these matters with an attorney who is experienced in estate planning is one of the smartest decisions that a person and his or her family can make.
Source: wealthmanagement.com, "The Game Plan to Successful Wealth Transfers," Anna Sulkin, March 13, 2017