estate planning & probate Archives

Estate planning, spouses and passwords

Women in Texas should know that being able to access important estate and financial information after the death of their spouse has always been a serious issue. This is because statistics show that women have a higher likelihood than men of being widowed or having a spouse with a grave medical condition. The issue has become more pronounced since the spread of digitization. Due to digital passwords and records, fewer paper records are available that can be used to help locate unknown accounts.

What to consider when choosing a guardian for a minor

Individuals who have young children will ideally choose a guardian for their kids as part of their estate plan. Failing to do so likely means that the courts decide who will raise the children and manage any assets that they received. Furthermore, the confusion caused by not naming a guardian could lead to strained relationships between family members and make it harder for the children to adjust to their new situation.

How Americans can protect their digital assets

The average resident in Texas has thousands of dollars' worth of digital assets, and those assets are worth protecting. Many people with ordinary jobs don't think they have anything worth money in the digital sphere, but the reality is that even something as simple as a username and password can be considered a valuable asset. If a password, secret account number or other piece of important information got into the wrong hands, it could cause a major financial loss.

The importance of an estate plan for people without children

Some people in Texas might think they do not need an estate plan because they do not have children. They may have no close relatives or might only have a spouse. However, there are a number of reasons to have an estate plan even if a person plans for all assets to go to a spouse.

Making an estate plan after divorce

When Texas couples decide to end their marriage, it can have a significant effect on their estate planning decisions. Many people across the country hurried to finalize their divorces in 2018, due to new tax law changes going into effect in 2019. Now that the marriage is over, however, there are a number of other procedures for people to look into to ensure that loose ends have been tied. When people marry, they often include their spouses as the primary beneficiary of wills, trusts and other estate planning documents. Divorce can inspire thorough changes in these documents, and the divorce decree can be a good place to start.

Single people and estate-tax planning

Single residents in Texas may have to adjust how they handle their estate-tax planning due to the changes in the tax law brought on by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Under the TCJA, the unified federal gift and estate tax exemption was raised to $11.18 million for the 2018 tax year and $11.4 million for the 2019 tax year. There will also be adjustments for annual inflation from 2020 to 2025.

Why estate planning is important for adults

There are several reasons a person in Texas may need an estate plan regardless of whether the person is wealthy or not. However, people may hesitate to make one. One survey found that only 42 percent of people said they had an estate plan.

Estate planning lessons to be learned from Aretha Franklin

It's not unusual for hardworking individuals in Texas to do everything possible to protect the future of their assets. This is often done legally with either a will or trust. However, many estate owners neglect to do this. For example, the late R&B singer Aretha Franklin never made such arrangements with her own estate, estimated to be valued at approximately $80 million. Because of a lack of will or trust, the Queen of Soul's four sons have come forward as interested parties. Franklin's niece has reportedly been selected to act as the estate's personal representative.

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.

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