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.
If you live in Texas, the summer season is a good time to look at your estate planning status. Because it is the time of travel for many people, an unexpected tragic accident or medical illness can rear an ugly hand. People hate to think about tragedy, especially at a time when relaxation and rest are goals of a vacation trip. If a person has done his or her homework already and has an updated set of estate planning documents safely in tow, then pre-travel planning will not be necessary.
Texas residents will do well to know some basic things about a last will and testament so that they can make a decision regarding whether to have one. Numerous complications can arise if a person dies without a will. In that respect, wills are generally considered to be a primary component of basic estate planning procedure.
Business owners residing in Texas will find estate planning to be a wise and useful process to engage in to protect against the negative impact of unexpected circumstances. Proper estate planning can assure the continuation of the business or a dissolution that follows the deceased owner's wishes. Thus, estate planning conducted with the assistance of experienced estate planning legal counsel can avoid unwanted results for the business.
Many persons choose to use living trusts in estate planning for the purpose of privacy and to avoid the necessity of probate. Sometimes, the trust will be a total replacement for a simple will when there will be no assets in the decedent's name at the time of his or her death. In other situations, estate planning in Texas may provide for the complementary use of both wills and living trusts.
For a young or middle-aged married couple residing in Texas, there are certain steps that can provide invaluable protection for the future. One is to make sure that adequate life insurance is in place, and that means not necessarily relying only on what one's employer provides, which may be an inadequate amount. For estate planning purposes, there are computations online that can figure out a family's insurance needs.
Although federal estate tax consequences for a single person are nonexistent until the estate exceeds $5.45 million in assets, there are many other reasons why estate planning should be carried out for those Texas residents who are not in that high tax bracket. First, state assessments may impact the estate. Also, the federal exemptions may be lowered at any time that Congress decides to make a change. Such factors and others make it advisable for most people to have at least a simple will to frame their estate upon death.
In most estate planning situations in Texas and elsewhere, a corporate fiduciary, such as a banking institution, will not be appointed as the representative or trustee in the will or living trust documents because that often proves to be an extraordinary and unnecessary expense. In the average decedent's estate, a family member or trusted friend is appointed in the simple will as the personal representative of the estate. As discussed previously, the broad functions of the representative are to locate and collect the assets, pay the taxes, administrative expenses and bills, and then make final net distribution of the estate residue to the beneficiaries.
The "cloud" is popular for those Internet-savvy people who believe in maximizing their online abilities. Cloud services allow an individual to store massive amounts of data and information on vast networks of digital resources that are physically separate from the user's own personal hard drive. With the emergence of such technology in Texas and worldwide, it was foreseeable that the digital storage and processing of estate planning documents, including wills and other legal instruments, would be right around the corner.