For young couples in Texas who are starting out, it may be therapeutic to discuss one's finances and to take action with the other spouse to organize and update a variety of matters. It can be helpful and may even mark the spirit and longevity of the relationship. Things to look at early in the marriage for preliminary estate planning purposes are health insurance benefits, existing wills, investment accounts, retirement plans, beneficiary designations and the like.
Due to changes in the federal estate tax laws, there is now roughly a $5 million exemption in place, which for a married couple can be parlayed into an exemption of approximately $10 million. This change looks fairly permanent, and for now makes it unlikely that trusts will be needed in the estate plan for obtaining tax savings. However, estate planning in Texas may include trusts for other more traditional purposes.