Seguin Estate Planning Law Blog

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.

Estate planning sooner rather than later is wise

Many Texas residents believe that they have all the time in the world to complete certain tasks. While that may seem true, it is not always a reality. Because unexpected events can happen at any moment, individuals may want to consider estate planning sooner rather than later.

Less than 50% of Americans have estate plans in place, which leaves a substantial number of people in a precarious situation. Without any type of estate planning documents in place, the guardianship of minor children will be up to the court in the event that both parents pass away. Because most parents do not want to put that important detail up to chance, it is wise to create wills to appoint their desired guardians. However, only 36% of parents with kids under 18 have created wills.

Wills can include a lot of valuable information

Creating a will is an important part of any estate plan. This document can include much information that surviving family members will find valuable when the time comes to close the estate of a loved one who recently passed. Of course, many Texas residents may not know what to include in their wills.

The exact information included in this document will be unique to each person. For instance, if a person has children who are not yet adults, it is wise to include a guardian appointment in the will so that the children will be taken care of by a trusted person. On the other hand, an individual may not have children and, as a result, does not need to make that designation. However, both can benefit from naming executors in their wills who will handle their final affairs.

Steps to plan for care may involve looking into Medicaid

Needing long-term care can be a difficult situation to consider. However, even if Texas residents want to believe that they will never end up incapacitated or needing extended care for another reason, it happens to numerous individuals. As a result, it is wise to take steps to plan for care before the need is imminent.

One planning option that many people consider is Medicaid planning. Medicaid can offer financial assistance to qualifying individuals that may help lessen the burden that the costs of long-term care can present. Of course, there are eligibility requirements that must be met in order to obtain this benefit. Namely, a person's income and assets must not exceed a certain amount, which is where planning ahead can help.

Estate planning steps can help simplify probate

Many Texas residents undoubtedly know that going through the probate process can be difficult on surviving family. Individuals may have had to carry out the proceedings for their own loved ones and know firsthand how long the process can take. As a result, they may want to do what they can to simplify the probate process by estate planning.

Fortunately, people can use many planning tools to keep certain assets out of probate, which could help assets pass directly to designated individuals. For instance, parties can create payable-on-death or transfer-on-death designations for some accounts. This allows a beneficiary to be named and for the assets in the account to pass directly to the beneficiary after the account holder's death. As a result, the assets do not need probating.

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.

Send Us An Email

Contact The Firm

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Kolb & Murray, P.C.
515 East Court Street
Suite 100
Seguin, TX 78155

Phone: 830-386-4801
Fax: 830-372-2320
Map & Directions

American Academy of Attorney-Certified Public AccountantsAn experienced law firm dedicated to serving you, your family and your business.