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Estate planning helpful for those with or without children

A person who has children typically plans to pass assets on to the kids upon his or her death. This can easily be achieved through the estate planning process. The question for those who don't have children, however, is who will end up getting their assets and valuables when they die. Even more planning and thought is often necessary for these individuals in Texas.

It would be wise for people -- those with or without children -- to develop a will specifying who will receive one's assets and how they will receive them. If there is no will, the laws of the particular state where the deceased person resides will dictate how the individual's assets are handled, and these statutes might not be in line with the person's goals. Anyone can be listed as a beneficiary in a will, including a partner, spouse, friends, extended family and even charities.

It might also be beneficial to create a solid gifting plan. People may give financial gifts after their death, with the government allowing one to give $14,000 per individual to an indefinite number of people without suffering gift tax-related consequences. Because of this 2014 tax law, people can even help to pay for a loved one's college tuition without having to pay gift taxes; they simply have to pay the higher education institution directly.

When participating in estate planning, people in Texas might also wish to buy insurance for long-term care. This insurance provides payment for any chronic care services one needs that aren't covered by one's health insurance plan, Medicaid or Medicare. By taking the proper steps with regard to creating an estate plan, people can protect themselves and their assets as well as protect their family and friends long-term.

Source: yourhoustonnews.com, "Aging and estate planning for those without children", Byron W. Ellis, Aug. 30, 2014

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