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Estate Planning Archives

Non-probate property is a critical part of estate planning

Many residents of Houston own some sort of property that is either jointly held or otherwise not intended to pass through the probate process. Joint bank accounts, life insurance, stocks, retirement plans, and the like rarely go to a person's estate after the person dies. Instead, the property will pass to the named beneficiary or to the joint owners of the account.

Estate planning tips for working couples without children

Texas is generally believed to be a family-oriented state and most estate plan strategies will be tailored to that fact. However, in today's world, there are an increasing number who choose not to have families even if there are two spouses who work. These people are known by the acronym of DINKs. This stands for dual income, no kids. For those who are choosing this lifestyle, there are still foundational necessities with an estate plan. There are various factors that need to be taken into consideration, especially to cater to this demographic.

What estate plan strategies are useful without kids or heirs?

Not every Texan who is preparing an estate plan has children, a spouse, or other close relatives to whom they would like to leave their assets after they have passed. This is not an infrequent occurrence and there are certain strategies that can be used in such a situation. If the estate is substantial, the testator will need to take certain factors into consideration when deciding how to proceed. It is not just a matter of not having children. Many of these individuals do not have a person they trust to name as the executor if they become incapacitated.

Are there common mistakes with estate planning? What are they?

Even Texans who take the steps to create an estate plan might not have implemented all the correct strategies based on their individual circumstances. There are certain mistakes that people will commonly make when they are drafting estate planning documents. These can negatively affect asset distribution and other matters after they have passed on. People need to be cognizant of legacy planning. Understanding the errors that are commonly made is a way to avoid repeating them.

Estate planning tips for newlyweds

The summer wedding season is just around the corner. With that, thousands of couples will pledge to share their lives together while entering a new chapter of their lives. Indeed, weddings can come with their own set of set of concerns. After all, couples may worry about how things will come together, whether notorious family members will do or say embarrassing things, and whether they will survive any wedding disasters.

Calculating fairness and equality in estate planning

Even Texans who take the necessary steps to formulate an estate plan might still sow the seeds for family disputes if the proper strategies are not implemented. Frequently, there is an issue with the division of assets and it does not have to do with their equal distribution, but their fair distribution. People who are leaving assets, property and more to their offspring will strive to be fair, however when it comes down to making the hard decision as to which child, relative or heir should receive what, more comes into the equation than just a random idea about fairness.

Why millenials should think about estate planning

The common notion of estate planning is that one needs to have significant assets or must be in their golden years. But as times change and cultures change, the traditional norms surrounding estate planning also change. Essentially, estate planning is not limited to the rich or to the elderly.

An effective estate plan includes regular updates

Texans who believe that time is on their side and that youth is a justification not to create wills and trusts are often caught flat-footed if something happens. Regardless of age, people need to be aware of the need to have certain documents prepared just in case of an unforeseen eventuality. Even with the newsworthy people like the musician and actor Prince who died unexpectedly and did not have a will, a vast proportion of the U.S. population still does not have a will.

Wills, trusts and other aspects of an estate plan are essential

Coming to grips with one's mortality is never easy, but Texans of all walks of life must do so and plan for the future. It is an unavoidable reality that the day will come when a person will no longer be there. That is when planning will come to the forefront. Having organized wills, trusts and other aspects of an estate plan is imperative. Knowing what is important is step one in cobbling together a solid plan.

Factoring the estate tax into estate planning

Texans who are estate planning have long considered tax implications as a potential issue for heirs. The last thing that a person wants to do when crafting an estate plan is to leave the heirs with a huge tax bill. With the new presidential administration of Donald J. Trump, the estate tax - also referred to as the death tax - was a campaign issue and he asserted his intention to repeal it. Those who are crafting an estate plan should think about if and how to account for the repeal if it happens.