You have probably been told by more than one well-meaning family member, co-worker, or friend how important it is to create a comprehensive estate plan. If you have yet to take the time to create yours it may be because you don’t have a thorough understanding of what an estate plan in Texas is and what it can do for you and your loved ones. When you think of an estate plan you likely think in terms of a Last Will and Testament. A Will is the foundation of any comprehensive estate plan; … [Read more...] about What Does An Estate Plan in Texas Include?
A trust can be an invaluable addition to any estate plan; however, a trust is only as valuable as the grantor makes it. For this reason, you should use care when making important decisions relating to the trust, such as who you decide to appoint as trustee. Although you may initially lean toward appointing a family member, an independent trustee may be a better choice. People often consider appointing a spouse or adult child as trustee because it seems the easy, logical choice. Only a family … [Read more...] about Choosing a Trustee – Why an Independent Trustee May Be Your Best Choice
A comprehensive estate plan starts with a Last Will and Testament; however, from there an estate plan can take numerous different forms and accomplish a wide variety of goals. For some people, an estate plan must include provisions that allow them to give to charity. If you are one of those people, there a number of tips that you may wish to consider when deciding which charities to include in your estate plan and how to include them. Choosing the right charities can be difficult, considering … [Read more...] about Estate Planning and Charitable Giving
You have undoubtedly heard over and over again the many reasons why you need an estate plan. If you have not, take some time to read some older posts on this blog. We have talked about the subject many times. Most Americans do not have an estate plan. Many of them are like you. They look for information about estate planning in places like this blog. They read the reasons why they need an estate plan. Yet, there is something that stops them from taking the next step and calling an estate … [Read more...] about What is Your Problem?
When people first start looking into getting an estate plan, many of them start by looking online for information. They type some keywords into a search engine and visit the pages that show up looking for information. That might be how many of you got to this page and why you are reading now. If that is you, then you need to be careful. Unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous people online who are trying to sell you bad estate documents that you do not want or need. These bad documents can … [Read more...] about Non-Attorney Estate Planners
Administering an estate today has many challenges that were not present even a decade ago. The world has changed a lot with the popularity of personal computers and the Internet. Today, estate administrators have to worry about the deceased's social media accounts, such as Twitter and Facebook. The estate has to figure out how to gain access to these accounts and shut them down. A few states have specific laws about these digital accounts that grant the administrator of the estate access. … [Read more...] about Digital Assets in Texas
Certainty in the estate and gift tax laws have brought a new bit of uncertainty to wealthy families. We now know that the estate and gift tax remain unified with a total lifetime exemption of $5.25 million for an individual and $10.5 million for a married couple. Wealthy parents can use the entire amount to gift money to their children tax-free. However, that has caused many people to wonder whether it is a good idea to give that much money to their children. It is important to note that you do … [Read more...] about Certainty Brings Uncertainty
If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you might be tired of hearing that you need to change your estate plan when your life circumstances change. We have talked about it over and over again. The reason that it has to be talked about so often is that so many people do not listen. Another example of this has been in the news lately. Like most examples it is a sad story of an estate gone awry that did not have to. Sir Peter Ustinov was a fabulous actor and director. He died a … [Read more...] about Another Reason to Update Your Estate Plan
If the person named in your Will as the person to receive the majority of your estate has you and your mother murdered, would you want that person's heirs to receive the inheritance instead? It sounds like an odd question to ask, but there is a point to it and it is a real life issue surrounding the estate of Ben Novack, Jr. Novack's wife was convicted of having him and his mother killed in horrific fashion. She was also the person named in his Will as the primary heir. Ordinarily, a person who … [Read more...] about What if an Heir Predeceases You?
One of the many things that an estate administrator might have to worry about is how the ongoing rights of the deceased are going to be protected. In some estates, everything gets settled at a definitive time not too long after the deceased passes away. However, other estates have to worry about rights that continue for a lengthy period of time, such as intellectual property rights and publicity rights. The estate of guitarist Randy Rhoads offers an example of this. Rhoads was a rock guitarist … [Read more...] about Randy Rhoads Estate Lawsuit