In one's financial affairs and in life, there are two basic ways of doing things: organized and disorganized. Being organized in Texas and elsewhere is a good thing that results generally in success, whereas doing things in a disorganized manner, or not doing them at all, can cause financial and personal disarray. With respect to estate planning, an individual definitely wants to be organized to avoid disaster and to leave one's family and loved ones with smooth sailing after his or her death.
Family members may find it interesting to discuss financial issues, but generally that does not carry over to freely discussing topics of inheritance and estate planning. That is a mistake that families in Texas and elsewhere should correct wherever possible. Having open and detailed discussions about financial status and estate planning for the inevitable events of the future can be an emotional relief for all concerned.
A recent study by an international wealth management company concludes that as family dynamics become more complex, the potential for conflicts after a family member's death increases. The survey took a national sampling, which presumably included Texas. The report states that only 28 percent of those responding said that their parents had shared their estate planning details with them.
Estate planning in Texas and elsewhere is always an important legal process that one should take seriously. In that light, it is not something to experiment with by adopting online offerings or selected snippets of information that do not consider the full range of legal and factual issues pertaining to the individual or married couple. Estate planning is a process that is best done in conjunction with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Many people in Texas and elsewhere have the misconception that because they are young they do not need a will. Young parents, however, may greatly benefit from having in their wills the designation of who should take care of their children if they have both died. The fact that this does not happen often does not dismiss the need and wisdom to prepare for such an event.
Many Americans, including in Texas, are not certain how their estate should be divided after death, per a 2016 Gallup survey. Well over half of all Americans also do not have a simple will. Going without a will may raise complications for persons who are single without children, unmarried couples living together, or even married couples without kids.
A significant number of marriages nationwide, including in Texas, involve older people who marry for a second or third time. At the same time, a large number of gray divorces take place, and after many years of accumulating assets, both parties may be wise to revise their estate plans before saying "I do." Each spouse may have specific ideas about whom they want to inherit their assets -- will it be their biological children or their stepchildren? If estate planning was left unattended for a while, a former spouse and his or her children might still be listed as recipients.
Many people in Texas and elsewhere have life insurance policies that are not appropriately coordinated with their estate planning goals. This should be done in consultation with a financial planner or an experienced estate planning attorney. The application of life insurance proceeds can be a valuable addition to an arsenal of tools that are used to achieve the individual's goals for providing for family members.
There are many mature couples in the United States, including in Texas, who choose to cohabit without getting married. Some of them may have children from prior marriages. The question is often raised regarding how these couples can engage in estate planning without having to worry that their children will contest their planning choices.
People who enter into a second marriage should in most cases consider making an estate plan at that time. The usual situation in Texas and elsewhere includes resolving how children from the first marriage will share in the distribution of assets on death of the parent, if at all. Since it is likely that both spouses in the second marriage have children from before, estate planning is usually a necessity that will prevent conflict and sometimes even chaos at some point in the future.