ESTATE PLANNING: IMPORTANT TIPS

It takes careful estate planning to ensure that everything is laid out just right for one’s beneficiaries and heirs. A recent article highlighted a few things that women should keep in mind when estate planning; however, the information applies to all Texas estate planners–regardless of gender.

Taxes are an important part of the process. Transfers to one’s spouse may be free of estate tax, but those to other beneficiaries may not be, even to one’s own children. In addition, one would do well to create a will so that after you pass, your loved ones can benefit from knowing exactly how you wanted your assets distributed.

When a will has been made, an executor must be appointed to take care of one’s assets after passing. This person should be someone trustworthy because they will be handling all of the assets and money left behind. The goal is to provide for distribution of assets in the manner desired while seeking to avoid financial issues and other entanglements for your loved ones.

You may also create a trust to provide peace of mind that the individual you want will receive the desired benefit. It is a way to ensure that children receive money that you want left to them, often by including terms that withhold distribution until they reach a certain age. Moreover, it may make sense to take advantage of tax laws concerning annual gifts of money.

One should also make certain that a joint account remains open with their spouse, so that after their passing, access isn’t a legal battle. When that spouse passes away, you’ll have access to all joint accounts. It is also a good time, after a spouse passes away, to re-evaluate your estate plan. As life changes, your plan may evolve.

Many haven’t given estate planning much thought. However, it is a crucial part of life for women and men alike. With a well thought out estate plan, you can rest assured that your final wishes will be carried out the way that you always wanted and that each heir receives their rightful share of your estate.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, “10 Estate Planning Tips For Women,” Angie Mohr, July 25, 2012