Estate planning is an important contribution to the peace of mind of those in Texas and elsewhere who go through the process. People have a feeling of relief knowing that their loved ones will receive their assets unimpeded by intrusive rules or burdensome taxes. Estate planning goes hand-in-hand with long-term care planning, which is basically the setting up in advance of certain protections that will serve to preserve assets for your loved ones if you have to enter a nursing home or for long-term homecare.
A recent article in Forbes highlights some general principles to guide you in your estate planning activities. It's important at the outset to decide who you want to manage your affairs in the event of incapacity or death. It's also key to spend sufficient attention at setting up protective measures with respect long-term healthcare. Generally, if you're in a relatively average, or even a slightly above-average, financial bracket your family will turn to Medicaid to finance nursing home expenses.
But Medicaid will by law seize certain of your assets, including a home residence, if something isn't done in advance. This will require a plan to get the asset into another format, such as conveying it to a living trust. The revocable living trust is a popular way to protect the assets, and retain control to make changes if a dire need should arise.
Estate planning, through wills and living trusts, also provides the opportunity to say how your assets will be used to take care of younger children or grandchildren. There may be special needs for one or more beneficiaries that can be structured into a trust by specific instructions to the trustee. The use of living trusts in Texas and elsewhere is a popular method for the possible avoidance of probate in some instances.
Source: Forbes, "11 Fundamental Elements of a Stress-Free Estate Plan", Mark Eghrari, Dec. 9, 2014