The end of the year is a hectic time for most Texas residents, as they complete their holiday shopping and get ready to ring in the New Year with their family members. While many think to cook lavish meals and get extravagant gifts for family members to express their love, very few realize that they might have overlooked a very basic way to provide for their family member’s futures — creating a comprehensive estate plan.
One way to do so is to create a SLAT — a spousal lifetime access trust. For married couples, it is a common way to protect assets and a useful tax planning technique. In addition to this, SLAT’s can also be structured in such a manner that they become non-grantor trusts. This can allow individuals to gather a variety of income tax benefits under the new tax laws. Another way is to create a domestic asset protection trust — a DAPT — in various states where it is allowed. It allows individuals to remove assets from their estates and from the reach of creditors even while the person him or herself can continue to benefit from them.
As the new year begins, Texas residents should resolve to inform or involve their heirs and beneficiaries of their estate plan and make their estate planning documents more accessible in case of an emergency. That does not mean they should be out in the open — on the contrary, keeping it in an encrypted cloud based portal ensures its safety and accessibility at the same time.
One should not keep creating the same old estate planning documents — there is a wide array of options available for people looking to create different types of trusts or modify their existing trusts. An experienced attorney might be able to help those looking to update their plans.