You're faced with a variety of challenging and important decisions when creating an estate plan. Among them is deciding who to name as your beneficiary.
Posts tagged "Heirs & Beneficiaries"
When people are married in Texas they generally share their lives. When one spouse earns income, it is as if both earned the money. They also share their assets such as a house, car, investment accounts and other assets. However, spouses do not always pass away at the same time and when one dies before the other, a spouse does not necessarily receive all of their spouses' property. This is especially true if the spouse that passes away first did not have a will.
When people in Texas pass away their property will be distributed to their family members as is determined by a statute. However, sometimes people do not want all their property to go in equal shares to their children, their siblings or others as determined by the statute. People can control where their property goes though. This can be accomplished by drafting a will. In the will people can give their property in different shares to different people depending on the relationships they had with various people throughout their lives.
This blog has frequently reminded Houston residents about the importance of creating an estate plan. This is certainly true if a Texan wants a say in how their wealth will be distributed.
At the heart of all probate litigation is the quest to uncover the intentions of the deceased. That person is no longer around to answer any questions or clear up any confusion, and so probate courts rely on a written will. This is why courts are so strict about making sure a will meets all the formal requirements before they will accept it as valid. It's also why some of the trickiest issues involve wills that are not entirely clear about the person's intentions.
Estate plans often use complex trusts to avoid probate, but avoiding probate doesn't always have to be complicated. For example, one way to have real estate avoid probate is sometimes to simply name a beneficiary to a transfer-on-death deed.
There is no step by step guide for every estate plan in Texas or anywhere else. Since everyone's family situation is different, estate planning must reflect those differences. Some families might have significant assets and minor children. Others have a family business that requires intricate assessments as to how it will be passed along. Distribution of assets and determining beneficiaries could be complicated by internal disputes.
When we leave this earth, we leave things behind. Even if a Texas resident does not have children, they still have assets that need to be distributed among beneficiaries and if directions are not provided, the state will make the decision for the decedent. This means that emotionally close relatives may be neglected in favor of biologically close relatives and beloved pets may end up in shelters. To avoid this, engaging in estate planning, regardless of one's life situation, is essential.
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.