The Livens Law Firm

July 2014 Archives

In estate planning, legal directives execute the maker's wishes

Because an estate plan in Texas and elsewhere consists of a variety of “legal instruments” that must pass muster under state law, it’s best to give up any thoughts of doing them yourself. Consider working with professionals to get your estate planning done as a classic ‘team effort’ geared toward accuracy and legal compliance. It’s true that estate planning also seeks to maximize the value of the estate’s assets, and to minimize tax drains, and these efforts are included in the process.

Estate planning allows targeted action regarding children

One important benefit of estate planning in Texas concerns the treatment of minor children. By proper estate planning, people can say who will take care of their children if the need should arise, and they can also appoint a trustee for the money and assets left for the children. If this is not done prior to death by will or even in life through living trusts, the court may appoint a guardian to exercise custody over minor children and a guardian or conservator to take control of the children’s money.

Business owner may need estate planning with funding

A perception exists, in Texas and elsewhere, that estate planning is about avoiding taxes, but in fact it goes beyond that into even more fundamental issues of how to preserve and protect one’s estate. With respect to federal estate taxes, currently a married couple must have a combined estate over $10.6 million before exposure to a federal estate tax. Additionally, an individual should worry about income taxes during life prior to considering estate planning for a death tax. Income tax rates for a business owner, for example, can be as much as 50 percent under certain circumstances.

Estate planning today also accounts for digital assets

In Texas and worldwide, the technology revolution has caused many old paradigms to fall away in the face of changing abilities and opportunities. In estate planning, a new area of digital assets is becoming more defined, while rules and procedures to appropriately process these assets during life and after death are developing. The estate planning process now includes making sure that one provides for the administration of his or her digital assets as well as the more traditional ones.

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