Tax season for most Texas residents offers an excellent time for everyone to also review their estate plans, and senior citizens are no different. In fact, it is probably more important for elders than anyone else. Knowing what would happen to personal assets in the event of an untimely or impending death can bring peace of mind as well as have those assets protected from probate exposure when creditors and tax assessors attempt filing claims against the estate.
Avoiding probate as much as possible
A truly effective estate plan will actually bypass a probate process completely when the plan is established and constructed by an experienced estate planning attorney who understands how to take advantage of the tax and inheritance laws. A will is a basic step in any plan, but there are additional steps that can be taken as well like establishing a trust or transferring property or belongings before passing. An estate plan can also include the following:
- Power of attorney financial
- Power of attorney medical
- Advance healthcare directives
- Declaration of incapacity
- Specific inheritance directives
Eliminates inheritance and executor contests
Another purpose of a comprehensive estate plan is to establish that it was created while the decedent was in a sound state of mind and prepared by an estate planning legal professional. This can help stop any claims a potential inheritor or executor may have regarding the true wishes of the decedent. A current estate plan can also provide assurance to the family that no surprises will come out of a probate process when the court applies state law to certain issues. Even the disposition of a family member under guardianship can be affected when the court intervenes.
Many Texas attorneys who handle wills and probates advise that being prepared for the inevitable is always the best step for any client regardless of the level of wealth. An effective estate plan does more than protect the assets, as it assures the family of minimal problems while they are still dealing with the loss of a loved one.