Seguin Estate Planning Law Blog

Remember to account for digital assets when estate planning

Most people save photos, videos, important documents and other items in digital form without thinking about it. In fact, it may seem more unusual to actually have physical photos printed than to just post digital copies on social media. While this may seem convenient now, these digital assets could cause complications later if Texas residents do not account for them while estate planning.

A considerable part of many people's lives takes place online these days. As a result, it is easy to forget all of the accounts created and what they are used for. Because of this, it is a smart move to list all of the online accounts and devices that use those accounts. Once individuals know what they need to address, they may be more easily able to indicate how they want those digital assets handled. Some examples to remember include email accounts, social media accounts, gaming accounts, storage and filing sharing, shopping accounts, and more.

Considering how to keep wills, other documents safe

After creating an important legal document, it is vital that the document is kept safe and is easily accessible. This is particularly true for Texas residents who have created their wills and other estate planning documents. Finding the right place to store these records can ensure that they are available when needed.

If storing the original copies at home, it is wise to think about the potential for damage that could come to the documents. If not kept in storage that will protect against the elements, papers could be lost due to fire, water damage or other issues. It is not too far-fetched to say that individuals could benefit from having their estate planning records kept in a fireproof safe. Of course, not everyone will rush out and purchase such an item simply for their documents.

Elder law planning wise after dementia diagnosis

It is common for people to have fears about getting older. They may worry that they will never achieve certain dreams or that they will find themselves with ill health. Unfortunately, diseases like Alzheimer's affect numerous people in Texas and across the country, and when a person receives such a diagnosis, it makes sense to consider elder law planning. 

Often, individuals with Alzheimer's disease need care beyond what a family member could provide. As a result, it is important that individuals put plans in place to address possible care. If they still have most of their cognitive abilities, parties could make plans themselves that include an advance directive that would allow them to indicate what type of care they would want to receive in a certain situation, particularly if the scenario seems terminal.

Estate planning for the business owner can help current affairs

Many Texas residents have worked hard to build the legacies that are their businesses. They may have had dreams of it being a family business or of simply passing it on to the next qualified person in order to keep it up and running. Whatever the case, including details about a business during estate planning is wise.

Estate planning can help individuals become more aware of their personal and business-related financial affairs. This information can help when determining how to address those affairs during the planning process, but it can also prove useful when it comes to managing those affairs currently and in the future. It could help business owners learn about possible options for growing their wealth and allow them to protect it through their estate plans.

It's easier to distribute property with TOD accounts

Settling a recently deceased individual's final affairs can be a difficult job for the executor of the Texas estate. Though the executor has many obligations to address during probate, other loved ones may simply be concerned with when he or she will distribute property from the remaining estate. Though this action does take place during probate proceedings, some accounts do not have to go through the process in order to be distributed.

Transfer on death accounts allow for the assets in such accounts to transfer directly to a named beneficiary after the account holder's death. This type of transfer is often appealing to individuals who do not want their assets to remain in probate for months or for their loved ones to have to wait that long to receive their bequests. Of course, not all accounts or property qualify as TOD.

Long-term care planning may be part of aging gracefully

Many Texas residents may dread getting older. They may imagine difficult times ahead where they can no longer care for themselves, and while this may not need to be the only future imagined, it is certainly a possibility. Fortunately, individuals can plan for futures in which they are healthy and for those in which they may need long-term care.

Staying active as an older person can certainly have its challenges. However, continuing to work out can go along way in maintaining a healthy lifestyle that could prove useful years down the road. If balance issues are becoming a concern along with the possibility of falling, parties may even want to look into specific exercises that focus on maintaining good balance.

Inventorying assets a good estate planning starting point

When starting an estate plan, many people think they should immediately think of who should get what. While making designations for property distribution is certainly important, Texas residents first need to know exactly what assets they have. As a result, it may be wise to start an inventory as they being estate planning.

An inventory of assets can include items that a person has inside and outside his or her home. Typically, small personal items, like handmade gifts from grandchildren, do not necessarily need to be in the inventory, but if assets are valued at at least $100, it is wise to list them. Some examples of such items could include jewelry, electronic devices, art, antiques, cars and even the home itself. It is also important not to forget any assets that may reside outside the state, such as vacation homes.

Planning for long-term care is an important step for the future

No one likes the idea of finding him or herself in the situation of needing extended care. Unfortunately, older individuals face a significant likelihood of needing long-term care at some point during their retirement years. If Texas residents do not plan for that possibility, they and their families may face serious difficulties later on.

Of course, the type of planning that best suits a situation is different from person to person. Some individuals may have a family history of illnesses that could make them more predisposed to needing care later in life, and others may have a less likely but still possible chance. Individual preferences also come into play when making plans. Some parties may want to try to remain at home and have their loved ones care for them, and others may find it more comforting to have professional help.

Careful estate planning may reduce family conflicts

The idea of creating an estate plan can leave many Texas residents feeling overwhelmed. Though they may have ideas about how they would like to distribute their remaining assets and ideas relating to other estate planning matters, they may worry about how their family dynamics will affect how well those plans are carried out. It is true that family relationships can cause difficulties during probate, but individuals could take steps to reduce the potential for conflict.

One worry that some parties may have is that their heirs will irresponsibly spend their inheritances. Some loved ones may suffer from substance abuse issues, mental health problems or other factors that could make them less likely to have responsible control over large sums of money. Fortunately, individuals could create trusts in order to stagger payments to heirs or that could stipulate that the assets can only be used or accessed under certain stipulations.

Elder law has a serious financial abuse problem

Powers of attorney are common estate planning tools. Many people in Texas use these documents to make sure that their medical and financial wishes are respected even if they are unable to make decisions on their own. Sadly, there is a significant amount of abuse within this area of elder law.

Abuse of the elderly often brings to mind physical abuse or neglect, but this is not the only way in which another person might harm an elderly individual. Financial abuse constitutes a significant threat to elderly individuals' ability to support themselves during their later years. Many of these individuals have spent their whole lives saving toward retirement and end-of-life care, but a MetLife survey found out that there is a $2.9 billion financial abuse problem among the elderly.

Contact Kolb & Murray, P.C., at 830-386-4801 to schedule your initial consultation with an experienced law firm devoted to serving you, your family and your business.

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Seguin, TX 78155

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