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Seguin Estate Planning Law Blog

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.

Estate planning has uses for any adult

Understandably, many Texas residents may have mixed feelings about creating estate plans. In many cases, individuals do not participate in estate planning or do not do so sooner because they don't understand how useful these plans can be. They may have mistaken notions that estate plans are only for certain types of people, but really, they are for everyone.

Estate plans can go a long way when it comes to protecting family members and assets for those individuals. A plan can indicate who should receive which assets. These designations can come in handy and prevent state law from dictating to whom assets get distributed. An estate plan can also protect young children by giving parents the ability to appoint guardians to take over in the event of the parents' deaths.

Forgetting digital assets is an estate planning mistake

Technological advances affect Texas residents and those elsewhere in various ways. In fact, many people put a considerable amount of their lives online, and as a result, they create a number of digital assets. However, because these assets are not as tangible as physical assets, they may not always remember to account for them while estate planning.

Even if online assets do not have a considerable amount of monetary value, they may still be important to surviving loved ones. Online photo albums, emails and social media posts could all fall into the category of digital assets, and many family members want the ability to look through those assets after a loved one's death. However, if they are password protected, difficult to find and have not been addressed in an estate plan, family members may be at a loss.

Springing powers may be useful in power of attorney documents

It can certainly be difficult to consider, but many Texas residents will likely face a time in life when they cannot make sound decisions any longer. This type of scenario affects many people as they age because mental and physical decline is common. Due to this possibility, it is wise to make preparatory arrangements, including naming a power of attorney agent.

A power of attorney agent can act on a person's behalf when needed, especially when it comes to making financial or health-related decisions. Individuals may want to consider creating a durable power of attorney document, which would give their agents the ability to continue acting on their behalves in the event of incapacitation. Having a trusted person to act on one's behalf could make a number of situations easier.

How much compensation can the executor of a will receive?

Settling the Texas estate of a recently deceased person is not an easy task. The executor of a will has the obligation of making sure that all the necessary steps are taken to close the estate correctly and of handling the individual's final affairs. Even when cases are straightforward, they can take time and effort. In some cases, disputes could take place that make the situation even more difficult.

Due to the difficult nature of the job, most executors are entitled to some kind of compensation for their efforts. The amount of compensation, also known as a fee, can depend on many factors, including whether the deceased indicated a fee amount or specific bequest in the will or if state laws are dictating the amount. Typically, the amount is considered reasonable for the executor's efforts and may relate to a percentage of the estate or percentage of the transactions made by the executor.

Texas residents can start small when it comes to estate planning

Not knowing how to get started can often cause people to put off important tasks. For instance, some Texas residents may procrastinate when it comes to estate planning because they do not know where to start. This feeling is understandable as many decisions need making for such plans. However, putting the task off for too long could have detrimental outcomes.

Instead, individuals may want to find the most basic starting points. With these steps, individuals do not even have to create any formal documents yet. For example, parties can start by determining what they want their estate plans to do. Should their plans protect assets, provide instruction for medical care in the event of incapacitation or create legacies? Fortunately, estate plans can do all of this and more.

The executor of a will has many duties to address

Before a person can close a loved one's Texas estate, the probate process needs to begin. The executor of a will needs to take the appropriate steps to get the legal proceedings underway so that the estate's final affairs can be settled. However, beginning the process takes many steps itself.

First, the will needs to be located and given to the executor, if one was named. The executor then needs to list the beneficiaries named in the will and their contact information. The executor will need to inform the beneficiaries of the person's death and inform them that they are in line to receive property from the estate. If a beneficiary has passed away, the executor needs to obtain the person's death certificate.

The holidays can be the perfect time to start estate planning

The holiday season often has Texas residents thinking about their families. While these thoughts could revolve around any number of topics, it could have some parties considering estate planning. Having estate plans can help ensure that loved ones are not left without vital information when they may need it the most.

Some people may find it difficult to start their plans, but estate planning can begin with creating an informal document. A letter of last instruction may not contain legally-binding information, but it can tell loved ones where they can locate important information about financial accounts or insurance policies, and it can also detail where keys are located and reveal passwords for online accounts. This letter can also include the location of wills, health care directives and other similar documents.

Updating wills is vital after divorce

Life comes with changes around every corner. For some Texas residents, going through divorces could turn their lives in completely different directions. While focusing on the divorce is important, it is also wise for parties who have already created their wills to go over the information in those documents to determine how the results of the divorce could affect their estate plans.

Estate plans often include specific beneficiaries named by the person who created the documents. It is common for individuals to want their spouses to inherit their property in the event of their deaths. Of course, after divorce, that desire will likely change, and parties may want to update their beneficiaries to have assets distributed to other family or friends. It is also important to remember that divorce could lead to a person maintaining and losing ownership of certain property, which may also present the need for distribution updates.

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