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Estate Planning Archives

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.

End of year estate planning modifications crucial

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.

Timely trust modifications can avoid family disputes

Houston residents who have created their estate plans might think they have their ducks lined up, but simply creating an estate plan is not the end of the matter. It is very important to periodically review the plan to ensure that it is up to date. A lot might have changed since a trust was created or beneficiaries named, and the estate planning documents may no longer be appropriate. Things change, and so should trusts.

Do my college going kids need an estate plan?

Many Houston residents may have sent off their children to college this fall and in between wondering how quickly time passes and how they are going to change the extra bedroom into a gym, they neglect to think about essential updates to their estate plan. When a child is born, parents likely update their estate plans to nominate a guardian for them in case something happened to the parents. Now that the children are older, there are a new set of issues an estate plan should consider, including how to continue financially supporting a child without letting other people take advantage of them.

New tax laws and their effect on estate planning

Texas residents may be aware that a new tax law was signed into law at the end of 2017 and how it may affects aspects of financial planning but they may not be aware they it can play a big role in estate planning. The tax reform legislation substantially raised the estate tax exemption over previous limits, and this can impact gifting and estate planning until 2025, when the law is set to expire, and afterwards as well.

Late singer with major assets died without an estate plan

Texans who downplay the importance of having an estate plan might come up with various justifications for their position. They might think they do not have significant assets to make it necessary to craft a will, a trust or other estate planning device. Those with major assets could simply put it off under the mistaken belief that it is something that can wait for a later time. Regardless of the financial standing, it is important to have an estate plan that suits a person's needs. This frequently comes to the forefront when a celebrity dies and it is later found that he or she did not have a will as is the case with the late singer Aretha Franklin.

What should I know about Texas living will laws?

Texans who have concerns about the type of medical care they will receive should they become ill enough that artificial means are necessary to keep them alive will want to think about a living will. A living will is a key part of comprehensive estate planning and should not be ignored. The desire of the person is paramount with a living will. Many people do not want to be subject to medical intervention or be kept alive with artificial means. Therefore, it is important to remember important points about Texas law for living wills.

Wealthy or not, everyone can use vital estate planning documents

Texans who are without a vast portfolio and do not own significant amounts of property will often shun the basics when protecting themselves with an estate plan. There might be a perception that an estate plan is only necessary for those who own a lot. This is not the case. The reality is that people who function under the belief that they own so little that wills and other estate planning devices are unnecessary do have many items that need to be addressed by formulating at least a basic document. Still, it is important to understand what happens when there is no will or other estate planning document to serve as a guideline after death.

Combating misplaced beliefs about estate planning

Even the most vigilant Texans who make certain every area of their lives are well-organized might forget about estate planning. There are many reasons why this might be the case, but it is always a mistake. Having an estate plan that suits the individual needs is not just beneficial to loved ones; it can make certain that all the areas of one's life are covered for all eventualities, foreseen and unforeseen. With estate planning, there are several reasons that are often presented as to why people fail to take these steps. Knowing them and avoiding them is key.