Estate Planning is a process that helps you plan for the distribution of your assets and property after death. It’s an important consideration for anyone, but it’s especially important if you’re a senior citizen in Texas.
Let’s discuss some of the most important steps that must be taken to ensure that your assets are protected and that your loved ones are provided for.
Make a Will
Making a will is the first and most important step. When you make a will, it is important to consider the future. This can include your children, grandchildren, and even pets. It is important to take into consideration what will happen to your assets when you are gone. Will they be distributed evenly, or will they be given all to one person?
It is also important to consider what would happen if you were incapacitated and unable to provide for yourself. You need someone who can act on your behalf and make decisions for you if necessary. With this step it is best to hire an estate planning attorney. This is because several documents need to be prepared such as:
- Medical Directive (living will)
- Durable Power of Attorney (health care)
- Durable Power of Attorney (finances)
Beneficiary Designations in Your Will
It is important to remember to review your beneficiary designations in your will. Situations change over time. You may want to change the person or organization that will receive your assets. If you have a new partner and want them to receive your assets, then you should update this information for it to be legally binding. You may also want to change the percentage of assets that each beneficiary receives if one of them has passed away or if they are no longer financially dependent on you. It is important for your beneficiaries to know who they are receiving their share from so that they can make sure that the money does not get lost after you die.
Consider Using a Living Trust
A living trust is a legal document that helps you manage your property and assets. It gives you more control over your assets and provides for the care of your loved ones in the event of incapacity or death.
A living trust can help you avoid probate court, which can be expensive, time-consuming, and public. Probate court is where the will of a deceased person is read to determine who should inherit his or her estate. The process can take months to complete, during which time the deceased person’s assets are often tied up in legal proceedings. Probate court also requires at least one public hearing, which means that anyone who wants to find out what happened to an estate can attend.
Federal Estate Tax Exemption Amounts
The federal estate tax exemption is the amount that a person can give away during their lifetime or leave to their heirs without having to pay any federal estate tax. In 2022, the federal estate tax ranges from rates of 18% to 40% but only applies to assets over $12.06 million. In 2023, the exemption rises to $12.92 million. So, this will not apply to most of you reading this. Texas does not levy an estate tax.
For help with your estate planning needs contact Winton Law El Paso PC.
Winton Law El Paso P.C.
1533 N. Lee Trevino Suite 201
El Paso, TX 79936
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:30AM to 3PM, 3PM to 6PM by appointment only
Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this article at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ, and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal services should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws and how they may affect your case.