The Livens Law Firm

There is more to consider in estate planning than taxes

Many Texas residents have likely not given a lot of thought to planning for the time when they pass away. While many may believe that estate planning is reserved for the wealthy to avoid heavy inheritance taxes, financial advisers recommend that most families need a plan. When individuals have children, grandchildren, parents, bank accounts or other assets, an estate plan is important to provide protection to families.

A major component of an estate plan is a will. Roughly 44 percent of persons nationwide had a will, according to a 2016 poll. Without a will, there is no direction to specify how someone's assets should be distributed. These decisions will be left to a court and could prove to be expensive.

When beneficiaries are named on tax-deferred accounts, those assets can go directly to them outside a will. However, minors may not be named as beneficiaries on certain accounts. Furthermore, if a beneficiary is not named on some of these accounts and no will is present, the decision about asset distribution may move to probate court.

Though decisions may be made regarding an estate, it is important to routinely review the documents. It is important that the documents are complete with beneficiaries designated where required. Situations may change that would warrant a revision, such as birth, death, divorce or a major move.

Estate planning is critical to ensure that someone's assets are distributed according to his or her wishes. It would be beneficial to seek the guidance of a Texas elder law attorney for assistance. An experienced lawyer will evaluate the situation and work toward developing a plan that meets a client's specific needs.

Source: memphisdailynews.com, "Estate Planning - It's Not Just Taxes", Ray and Dana Brandon, June 23, 2017

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