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TEXANS MAY EXPRESS THEIR GENEROSITY THROUGH ESTATE PLANNING

Spring is nearly upon us and people across the nation will be happy to shake off the cold brought by this tough winter. However, before you throw your arms around the coming sunshine, how are you doing on your New Year’s resolution list? Was this the year you were going to set up an estate plan or, at least, review the plan you created a couple years ago?

It does not matter how old you are, it is never too early to establish an estate plan and write down your wishes for your loved ones. Many people know the importance of having wills, healthcare directives and powers of attorney, but there is often much more to estate planning. Here are some considerations if you are looking to create or revise your estate plan.

HEALTH CARE CONSIDERATIONS

Increased longevity and skyrocketing costs for long-term healthcare means that many people will outspend their retirement savings far too soon. As savings dwindle and personal care needs rise, aging parents may move in with grown children. While most children are happy to give back to the people who cared for them for much of their lives, the financial burden can be heavy.

Estate planning can help parents and children prepare for this possibility without jeopardizing rights to governmental aide. At the same time, proper planning can also create a way to compensate a child who has opened his or her home to a loved one without creating a dispute between siblings.

PROVIDING FOR OTHERS

Texans are very giving their time and money and estate plans allow them to continue their generosity long after they are gone. Estate plans provide numerous ways of providing gifts for your favorite charities.

  • Charitable trusts: Charitable remainder trusts work well for those wishing to leave stocks, property and other high-value assets without incurring capital gain or estate tax liabilities.
  • Private foundations: A private charitable foundation is another option that may work well when a family wishes to maintain control over distributions to a charity. A private foundation can also provide employment opportunities for family members and leave a long-term legacy.
  • Pets: According to the Wall Street Journal, nearly 70 percent of American households have pets, many of whom are treated as family members. While a pet is considered “property” for estate planning purposes, more aging owners are leaving money for the care of their animals than ever before. While a designated caretaker in a will is not legally obligated to provide continued care for a pet, a trust can create that obligation and dispense money as needed for food and medical care for a pet.

CONSULT A LAWYER

There are many variables at play when it comes to estate planning. An experienced estate planning attorney can advise you about options that will work best for your circumstances and establish a plan that will accomplish your goals.