Livens & Reed, PLLC

Go beyond just signing documents in estate planning

Most Texas residents don't want to think about the possibility of being incapacitated and no longer able to make decisions. They also often avoid discussing what will happen with their property after they die. But those issues must be addressed in detail when estate planning. But even having a plan in place with all the documents signed may not be enough. Experts suggest several things to keep in mind to ensure that someone's wishes are carried out after his or her death.

Financial advisors recommend that an individual carefully examine his or her beneficiary designations. People also need to make sure assets have been appropriately re-titled if a trust is part of their estate plan. According to advisors, many problems arise when these simple steps are not followed.

For example, a revocable living trust may be established by a husband and wife to avoid probate and hopefully make things easier for their survivors. But often, specific beneficiaries are named for a house or other accounts, such as an IRA, brokerage accounts or life insurance. Those assets would not go into the trust, and the named beneficiary would receive them outright. A probate process would be necessary for assets not included in the trust.

Many Texas residents have successfully established a trust, but it may not have accomplished what they intended. It would be beneficial for them to seek the advice of attorneys experienced in estate planning to help them with this complicated process. Establishing a plan that addresses an individual's specific situation is critical and is made easier with a legal team familiar with financial matters.

Source:, "Proper estate planning more than just documents", Bernard A. Krooks, Feb. 2, 2017

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