Many people in Texas have wills or trusts drafted during their lives to help ensure their property goes to the people they want after they die. Throughout people's lives, circumstances change, and life may be very different than when people originally drafted their will or trust. One way that people's lives may have changed is that they may have gotten divorced.
Posts tagged "Estate planning"
A previous post on this blog talked about how some Texas residents may choose to execute what is often referred to as a health care proxy but may also be referred to as a medical power of attorney. To review, the health care proxy is a document a Houston resident can give their loved one or another trusted individual which gives them the power to make medical decisions, even if those decisions are a matter of life or death.
Most of us understand the importance of having a valid will, but very few understand the requirements upon which a will's validity depends. A will must satisfy two kinds of criteria to be valid. First, the will must satisfy the formal requirements of execution and being witnessed. Second, a will must satisfy the requirements relating to the testator's state of mind at the time that the will is signed.
More and more Texas couples are choosing to live together without getting married, especially if one or both partners are over the age of 50. This choice has many reasons, but according to several studies, the most prevalent reason is the memory of a difficult divorce and a wish to avoid repeating this experience. Living together has an appeal for many people who want to emphasize the emotional connection and avoid the restrictive formalities of marriage. However, living together has a number of legal risks that should be explored before beginning co-habitation.
Many Houston couples reside in a house or condominium that is owned by only one of them. In most cases, the person who owns the real estate wants to ensure that title to the property passes to the other member of the couple, if the owner should be the first to die.
Texas parents with special needs children are constantly faced with the question of how to provide for the child's expenses. This question is especially vexing when the issue is estate planning. Special needs children often rely on a variety of state and federal programs to provide financial assistance, but eligibility for these programs can often by undercut by estate plans that do not take into account the limits on the child's income and assets that can affect eligibility. The solution to this problem is often provided by a special needs trust.
Recently on this blog, we discussed the federal estate tax and noted that its exemption is now set at $11.4 million. Since Texas has no state estate tax, and few Texas individuals leave behind an estate worth more than $11.4 million, most Texas families need not concern themselves with estate taxes when they are preparing their estate plans.
Estate planning and probate are subjects that can profoundly affect people's lives, and yet they don't come up very often in conversation. One of the few occasions on which the popular news media will discuss the subjects is when there is a courtroom battle over a famous person's will. Another is when there is a political battle over the estate tax.
Your will is meant to be the last statement of your intentions about how to distribute your property after you are gone. However, a lot can happen in your life after you sign your name on your finished will. If you don't update your will to reflect these changes, you may end up leaving a plan that does not reflect your wishes. In the worst cases, an out-of-date will can lead to confusion, disputes and even litigation.
The recent overhaul of the federal tax code has led to many unforeseen changes. One has been a change in the uses of revocable trusts, also known as living trusts in divorce.