From Christine’s interview for the Masters of Estates & Probate series on ReelLawyers.com.
Estate Planning in Texas
Introduction to Estate Planning
In our work administering estates of lost loved ones and drafting documents to support estate plans, we recognize that, in addition to preparing documents to support the estate plan, we must investigate the types of assets that make up the taxable estate, review relevant documents governing those assets, coordinate beneficiary designations, and sometimes recommend changes in the style of ownership on assets. The questions that follow are some we see often in our practice.
From Michael’s interview for the Masters of Estates & Probate series on ReelLawyers.com.
Who needs Estate Planning?
If you are over the age of 18 and of sound mind, you should have an estate plan in place. You are especially encouraged to put an estate plan in place if any of the following are applicable to you:
- Have minor or special needs children or a spouse with special needs;
- Are married and have a net worth (including the face value of life insurance) of more than $1 million;
- Have a blended family; and/or
- Own a business. For most people, estate planning involves the preparation of a will, durable power of attorney, medical power of attorney, and physician’s directive, a declaration of guardian, and an appointment of agent to control the disposition of remains.
What goals should be accomplished with Estate Planning?
- Provide support and financial stability for your surviving spouse, children, and grandchildren.
- Preserve your wealth for later generations.
- Make sure your wishes are carried out when you can no longer manage your affairs. It’s important to have both a power of attorney and a living will.
- Support a favorite charity or cause with a gift of money, securities, or other property.
- Distribute assets in a timely fashion, with a minimum of legal hassle.
- Minimize taxes and expenses that can go along with transferring assets.
- Provide enough cash to meet expenses and prevent the forced sale of assets.
- Avoid problems for your loved ones by ensuring that the beneficiaries named on your life insurance and retirement plans are still the people you want to benefit.
- Protect your family’s privacy with an estate plan designed to prevent your will from becoming public record.
- Set and meet expectations of your survivors so there is no confusion or misunderstanding.
Trends in Estate Planning
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