Estate planning is important for everyone in Texas, regardless of the size of your estate. The basic goal of any estate plan is to dictate how you would like your assets to be handled should you pass away or become incapacitated. With careful planning, you can also do things to help minimize the estate tax that may be owed by your beneficiaries.
Take inventory of your stuff and your family’s needs
The first step to creating your estate plan is to take inventory of everything you own and then determine how you would like it to be dispersed. This will give you a good idea of what to write down in your will.
Remember to think about your family member’s individual needs and financial situations when deciding who gets what. For example, a disabled family member may need more financial help than another family member.
Write a will
While writing a will might sound like an obvious next step in your estate plan, so many people fail to create even a simple will. After you write your first will, it’s likely that you will be updating it with more information or when circumstances change. However, don’t let the fact that your estate plan doesn’t completely prevent you from writing a basic will.
Review Beneficiary designations
The beneficiary designations on your financial accounts allow certain assets to pass directly to beneficiaries. Since these designations override what’s written in a will, it’s very important to make sure they are up to date during your estate planning.
Consider setting up a trust
Though not every estate plan requires a trust, you should consider whether your family’s situation could benefit from one. A financial trust may shield assets from taxation and allow you to have more control over the way assets are dispersed.