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January 2019 Archives

What should I expect if I am challenging a will?

Right after a Houston resident has lost a loved one, they inevitably go through a period of mourning in which they remember the good times they shared with the deceased. The last thing they need to find out at that time is that they have either been left out of a will or that the decedent died without a will. If someone finds out they have been left out of a will, what should they do?

Are you establishing your power of attorney carefully?

There are a number of steps Texas residents can take to ensure their assets are distributed according to their wishes after they pass away. However, it is also important to take steps to ensure one's legacy is protected while they are alive but unable to make important financial decisions on their own, such as when their cognitive function declines due to a medical illness like Alzheimer's or due to a sudden accident.

Can I provide directions for digital assets in estate plans?

These days, one's digital presence and digital assets are just as, if not more important, than one's real property and presence. People pay their bills, manage and access their accounts, and even buy cryptocurrency, making their digital assets and information an integral part of their portfolio. When one dies though, digital assets are not treated the same way real property is treated and it is important to keep that in mind as one is drafting their estate plan. Locking heirs and beneficiaries out of inheriting digital assets and executors and fiduciaries without access to them can be detrimental to one's estate plan.

Review heirs and beneficiaries after a divorce

The new tax laws set to come into effect on January 1, 2019, caused a lot of people, including Houston residents, to finalize their divorces before the new year set in. under the new law, the payor can no longer deduct alimony and the receiver is no longer obligated to pay tax on it. Anyone whose divorce has been finalized recently should consider this the right time to update their estate plan. This also applies to anyone who has not reviewed their estate plan after separating from a spouse.

What assets should you include in your estate plan?

Like many Texas residents, you may have decided to make some New Year's resolutions. With the new year under way, you may already feel like the changes you wanted to make in your life may not happen as quickly as you had hoped. Certainly, it can take time to achieve goals, but as long as you do not give up, you will likely have the chance of at least keeping some of your resolutions in check.

Estate planning decisions should be informed

As mentioned many times before on this blog, Houston residents, along with their counterparts across the country, often delay talking about end-of-life decisions and how they would like their assets to be distributed amongst their heirs. In the absence of a healthcare proxy or a financial one, family members are left to make important, life altering decisions in an emotionally charged environment and this can lead to family disputes in the long-run. This could be avoided if individuals take the time and make the effort to make these decisions and create comprehensive estate plans.