Houston Estate Planning Law Blog

ESTATE PLANNING IS CRUCIAL IN A HARD ECONOMY

Texas is a great place to raise a family but leaving your family without the proper estate planning in place can lead to trouble. This seems to be truer now than ever before. Once thought of as only applying to the rich, estate planning is now essential for virtually every family in Texas.

One of the more pressing reasons families need to consider how and to whom they wish to leave their assets has to do with the current state of the economy. It is no secret that many younger Americans will have a more difficult time accumulating assets as their parents did in the past. According to a survey done by New York Life, only 42 percent of adults with children felt their kids would have a standard of living that was better than theirs.

Many parents want the best for their children and grandchildren. One way to help is to put into place the various legal documents needed to avoid probate court. Wills and trusts are just two examples of how parents can help secure the future for their children. Some families may need to have guardianship papers drawn up or may need to have certain types of powers of attorney established.

A main goal of estate planning is asset protection. Texas families want to leave their hard-earned money and properties to family members, not to expensive probate court fees and government taxation. The good news is getting this work done is not as difficult as some might think.

For asset protection and to ensure that survivors avoid long, drawn out legal proceedings, a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney may provide important answers. With the proper advice and foresight, an estate plan can be set in place to preserve assets and save on estate taxes. A Texas lawyer devoted to helping individuals and families provide for the future may help achieve long range goals.

Source: CNN, “Are you living the American Dream? Will your children?” Dave Schechter, Sept. 21, 2011

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FUND DISTRIBUTION UNDERWAY IN JACKSON ESTATE

Since the sudden death of Michael Jackson two years ago, his estate has made more than $310 million in gross revenues. According to filed court documents in regards to Jackson’s estate planning, the executors of his estate will give a payment of $30 million to his children and his mother.

The Jackson compound is now on the market as his mother has sought to sell it in order to purchase a new home for her and Michael’s three children. Although the estate is facing income and estate tax audits, following the posthumous release of the movie “This Is It,” the family was able to make more money with which to repay outstanding debts. It is reported that the estate has also continued to generate income from other interests of the estate.

Although some creditor claims are still pending, the family purportedly reduced Michael’s debt obligations by more than $90 million and was able to refinance some loans at lower interest rates. In so doing, the additional revenue that the estate has generated may be enough to repay the debts, particularly once the sale of the compound is finalized. Currently, it is unknown if there are any offers to purchase Michael’s home.

Even though this is a widely-publicized case, Texas residents may be able to take something away from it. When estate planning is done in advance, it cuts the stress for those left to deal with property and asset issues. As is in Michael Jackson’s case, an experienced attorney can help make the process easier for all involved.

Source: Chron.com, “Jackson estate makes $30M payment to mother, kids,” Sept. 14, 2011

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