Houston Estate Planning Law Blog

ESTATE PLANNING WHILE MAKING RETIREMENT PLANS

When it comes to estate planning, many people in Texas want to leave a legacy for future generations by passing down any assets they may have accrued during life. But what some people don’t realize is that there is a lot of other planning that needs to be made before you pass away.

We’re talking of course about retirement planning and it may be surprising for some people to hear that estate planning and retirement planning tend to coincide more often than people think.

Let’s take for example your financial assets. People who want to leave behind a large sum of money to their inhabitants may have to realize that when they retire, their income may not be as large as they are used to. Keeping this in mind could greatly change when you retire and how much you end of leaving to your beneficiaries in the end.

It’s also important to think about any medical expenses that you may accrue. In a majority of cases, people don’t want to leave their loved ones with a mountain of bills. This not only lessen the amount they will receive from your inheritance but could cause considerable headache to the person in charge of your estate after your passing.

Making your intentions clear and in writing is probably the single most important piece of information that a person can hold onto when going into estate and retirement planning processes. If you don’t make your wishes known, the state could make many of the decisions for you which may make things harder on your loved ones in the process.

Whether you’re just beginning your career or a few years from retirement, it’s always a good idea to think about how your estate plans will affect your retirement, not to mention how your plans could be changed the other way around.

Source: CBS Money Watch, “Retirement planning: Get non-financial help,” Steve Vernon, March 6, 2013

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WHAT PLAN DO RETIRING FARMERS HAVE FOR THE FUTURE?

In the wake of a particularly difficult recession, many farmers in Texas and across the nation have at least two hopes for the future: retire comfortably and pass their farms on to their children.

But according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture study, less than 40 percent of the country’s farmers have a plan for the future of their land. And with roughly 90 percent of the country’s farms being family owned, it leaves many to wonder what the outlook will be for these farmers.

Many experts agree that having a well thought out estate plan could mean the difference between passing a farm onto future family generations to losing the farm all together. For many farmers, ensuring that a farm stays in continuous family ownerships over the years is important.

But without proper planning, many retiring farmers face the sobering reality that their farm may not pass to the next person in succession. This is alarming to many because there it then begs the question of what happens to the day-to-day operations after an owner retires, or in tragic situations, suddenly dies?

Troubling still, the USDA report points out that only 36 percent of the country’s farm owners had an estate plan to dictate what would happen to their property after they died. Several other issues that complicate things are estate taxes, which the study discovered a majority of farmers were likely to pay these taxes when transferring from one generation to the next.

Attorneys in Texas, and across the nation, suggest speaking with an estate planning expert well before retirement age in order to come up with a comprehensive succession plan, and to make sure that all financial affairs are in order before it’s too late.

Source: KEPTV.com, “Oregon farms face uncertain future as farmers retire,” Mac McLean, Sept. 14, 2012

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