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Estate Planning Archives

Wealth is not a prerequisite for writing and updating wills

A mistake made by many Texans who do not consider themselves wealthy is to shun creating a will. Wills are an integral part of an estate plan and should not be ignored, no matter the amount of money and assets. They will often believe that they do not have an estate worth making out a will. The important thing to remember about a will is that it is for the loved ones. Once the person dies, his or her assets will need to be dealt with, no matter how large or small. A will is vital toward that end.

Legal requirements to create trusts in Texas

For many Texans, drafting estate planning documents can be a difficult chore. Knowing the preferable strategies is often difficult, but it is worthwhile. One estate planning document that can be beneficial is a trust. With a trust, there are certain requirements. Having a grasp of these factors is a foundational aspect of a legal trust.

Estate planning and handing assets over to children

Texans who are constructing an estate plan might wonder whether it would be preferable to hand certain assets over to children and other heirs before death. They believe that this is a sound strategy to ensure that their assets stay in the family's hands, and their children get everything the testator wants without having to go through probate and worry about ancillary factors. This is often a mistake as it fails to provide certain protections. Understanding this and formulating strategies to maximize protection is a wise step with any estate plan.

Estate tax implications could be part of Trump tax plan

Texans who have substantial portfolios will keep a close eye on tax implications for their estate after they have passed on. People who are leaving behind a lot in assets will undoubtedly want to protect their heirs from a major tax hit by engaging in estate tax planning. However, the estate tax is constantly up for debate in the federal government with some wanting to repeal it and others wanting to keep it in place. When drafting estate planning documents, having strategies to account for various contingencies can be key.

Estate planning for those living in more than one residence

Texans who have retired will often want to travel to different areas and spend significant time in other states. A question that should be considered is how this might affect an estate plan. Those who have the means to have several residences are undoubtedly lucky, but there also comes some risk when living in different places. For estate planning purposes, it is vital to grasp the ramifications.

Keep your estate plan up to date

Estate planning lawyers frequently tell people it is important for everyone to have a will. What they may not explain often enough is the fact that people should not think of creating an estate plan as a one-time event. Wills, trusts, powers of attorney and other estate planning documents should be revised as life situation changes.

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.