Livens & Reed, PLLC

Estate Planning Archives

How will the new tax laws affect estate planning?

April 15 is likely not a favorite day of the year for most Texas residents and others across the nation. Many taxpayers delay filing their federal income tax returns until the very last possible minute. This year in particular, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has presented numerous changes to which those filing must adhere. The new regulations have implications for individuals as well as corporations and estates. Experts have weighed in on how the new tax law has affected the estate planning process.

Estate planning important to everyone

At a certain stage in their lives, Texas residents and others around the country begin thinking of their retirement years and even to the time when they will no longer be around. If they begin the estate planning process, decisions have to be made about who will inherit their assets or, perhaps, who will care for them when they become unable to do so themselves. For individuals who are married or have children, these answers may be more apparent. However, there are many people who are unmarried with no children. Experts contend that having an estate plan is no less crucial for this demographic group.

Why is estate planning important?

Most Texas residents and others around the country give little thought to how life will be when they are no longer around. This is particularly true of younger generations, who likely have not started families or have not yet amassed much in assets. However, financial experts believe that it is never too early to start the estate planning process, regardless of age or amount of assets.

What documents are essential for estate planning?

When musical icon Aretha Franklin passed away in 2018, many reports focused on the fact that she did not have a will in place. Other notable entertainers, such as Prince and Kurt Cobain, were in the same situation, despite having all the means necessary to go through a comprehensive estate planning process. Most Texas residents are not dealing with estates of the same magnitude as these celebrities. However, it is still of utmost importance to address financial issues to avoid potential problems for one's family members.

Taking good care of the kids includes solid estate planning

Few Texas parents want to think about how their kids would fare if they lost both parents in an unexpected tragedy. In fact, parents spend so much time organizing and planning every aspect of their beloved children's lives that they often fail to give any consideration to what might happen to those plans in the event of such a loss. Having a solid estate planning package in place is an excellent way to protect against the worst-case scenario. Getting the job done also delivers a sense of relief and satisfaction, which is well worth the time and effort it takes to put one's intentions into writing. 

Those with young children should start estate planning earlier

Most Texas residents and others around the nation don't tend to spend a lot of time dwelling on what life will be like when they are no longer around. For those who do consider this scenario, they may begin the estate planning process, primarily to determine how their assets will be distributed among their loved ones. In addition, most individuals typically start the planning process later in life. While asset distribution is a major component of any estate plan, experts recommend that parents of young children start their preparations much earlier to avoid complications later.

Estate planning should move beyond only development of will

Statistics show that over half of Texas residents and others around the country do not have a will. Most experts would assert that a will is typically the most basic document developed when someone begins the estate planning process. However, while an important piece to a comprehensive plan, advisers warn that there are potential concerns to having only a will.

Divorce requires changes to estate planning documents

There are numerous issues to address when a couple from Texas or anywhere around the country goes through a divorce. Issues regarding child custody and property division are typically at the forefront of the parting spouses' minds. It is likely that estate planning may not be a topic that automatically arises during divorce proceedings. Yet, the documents included in a person's estate plan should be carefully considered.

Estate planning is important process to consider

Most individuals in Texas or anywhere around the nation avoid thinking about a time in the future when they are no longer around or are unable to take care of themselves. Yet, that is a topic that should be addressed when someone is still able to make decisions about how things should be handled when that time comes. It is important to discuss the issues as part of one's estate planning process.

Estate planning should be an ongoing process

Statistics from the AARP reveal that almost 60 percent of people from Texas and elsewhere around the country do not have a will in place. Given a will's importance, the omission of one is often considered to be the biggest mistake made in estate planning. However, having just a will alone is likely not enough. It is imperative to routinely review and revise estate planning documents at several crucial times.

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