estate planning & probate Archives

The importance of an estate plan

Having a carefully crafted will is important, but this only a small part of ensuring that assets will be managed in accordance with one's wishes. A well-developed estate plan is necessary to address the complicated issues that can arise regarding a decedent's estate. With an estate plan, a Texas resident can specify what should happen to their estate after they die, their reasons for wanting their estate handled in a specific way and who should be in charge of the estate to ensure that it is managed properly.

Estate planning changes to accompany divorce

When people in Texas decide to divorce, they are often aware of the range of financial, practical and emotional changes and decisions that lie ahead. While divorcing spouses are often prepared for these challenges, there are some issues that can be very important yet are rarely considered at the time of a divorce filing. One such issue is estate planning; during a marriage, many people develop an estate plan jointly with their spouses. After the marriage has come to an end, it is time to change those plans.

Estate planning can protect people from elder abuse

Failing to plan for the future can have costly and dangerous impacts on people in Texas, especially seniors over 65 who do not have a will or other key estate planning documents. One Wells Fargo survey found that around 40 percent of Americans in this age group do not have critical documents in place that can protect them if they are incapacitated and can make sure their wishes are followed upon their death. Without these plans in place, people can be more vulnerable to financial abuse and exploitation, a major concern for elderly Americans.

Estate planning can be crucial for the future

For people in Texas concerned about providing for their loved ones and preparing for the future, estate planning is a must. This process involves the creation of certain documents, like wills, trusts and powers of attorney, in order to arrange for how a person's assets will be handled through their life and after death. It can also address key concerns like how decisions will be made on key matters like healthcare or finances in case a person is incapacitated. While many people recognize just how important it can be to draw up an estate plan, 55 percent of Americans do not have the most basic document: a will.

Pitfalls to avoid in creating a trust

A trust can be a powerful tool as part of a Texas resident's estate plan. Assets such as annuities or life insurance policies can be placed in a trust so they can increase in value while tax deferred or tax free. A person can also place conditions on distributions such as having them go to a beneficiary over a period of time or after reaching certain milestones. The grantor may have a goal for the trust, such as providing for the education of grandchildren, that can be written into the document.

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