Under current federal tax laws, a married couple can generally exempt up to $10 million in federal estate taxes. This effectively exempts the vast majority of Americans from having to engage in estate tax planning with respect to federal estate taxes. The change may have influenced some people in Texas and elsewhere to think that estate planning itself was no longer necessary.
Another reason for individuals residing in Texas or elsewhere to identify their trusted family members who will take care of their later needs is to avoid the possibility of elder abuse by strangers or relatives not trusted or favored. A study by MetLife's Mature Market Institute puts the cost of elderly financial abuse at $2.9 billion annually. Strong estate planning and long-term care planning programs made when the elderly person is lucid and rational will substantially prevent deceitful or fraudulent manipulations by interlopers.
When constructing a comprehensive estate plan, many Texas couples are unsure whether or not they should discuss the details of those plans with their adult children. There are various reasons for avoiding the subject, not the least of which is a desire to avoid contention within the family if the children will not inherit equal shares of the family's estate. However, this is also the primary reason why parents should discuss the content of their wills with their children, so that any familial strife can be worked through before a death in the family increases the level of tension and stress.