Important Texas Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid [Part I]

Estate planning can provide a wide range of benefits that include ensuring the uneventful transfer of assets and business interests to your successors, protecting your net worth from creditor claims, planning for future incapacity, avoiding probate and reducing liability for gift and/or estate taxes. Despite these benefits, many people assume that they can delay the process of setting up an estate plan until they reach a later stage in life. Those who already have an estate plan in place may delay updating their estate plan although significant changes in the law or life events have now made modifications appropriate. Experienced Texas estate planning attorney Tom Reino has provided some suggestions to help people avoid significant estate planning mistakes.

Assume it is already a rainy day.

Estate planning and procrastination go hand-in-hand for many people, but the problem with putting off the process of estate planning is that you need an estate plan in place before an event making it important occurs. Heart attacks, strokes and car accidents do not occur according to a schedule or when it is convenient, but the aftermath of sudden major events like these are precisely when you need a durable power of attorney for health care and financial matters or an advance medical directive. If you suddenly pass away without a trust and/or will in place, you cannot turn back the clock and designate how your want your assets to pass to your beneficiaries. Texas intestacy law will replace your preferences and wishes in terms of the succession of your estate.

Ultimately, estate planning is about advance planning so procrastination can lead to serious issues for both you and your love ones. One approach to estate planning involves using a simple estate plan that is less expensive to set up but that meets your needs when you are younger and modifying your estate plans so that it is more sophisticated as your estate and estate planning needs become more complex.

Avoid the estate plan in a box.

There are many so-called estate planning tools that offer “cheap and convenient” preparation of estate planning instruments either by using computer programs or standardized forms. This approach to estate planning can be worse than no estate plan at all. These inflexible standardized forms are not customized to your specific portfolio of assets, family structure and other unique factor relevant to your estate planning needs. Typically, these programs are not even adjusted to satisfy the statutory requirements under the law of individual states. It is important to remember that much of the law that impacts estate planning instruments and estate planning strategies is governed by the individual law of your state. Because those who rely on crudely drafted forms may have a false sense of security regarding documents that are invalid or ambiguous, they may fail to take steps that someone who knows they have no estate planning documents might, such as signing a hospital furnished power of attorney when undergoing surgery.

At our Arlington estate planning law firm, Thomas D. Reino carefully evaluates your estate to create an estate plan that is appropriate for your specific situation. If you have questions or need estate planning documents prepared, we invite you to contact us at 817.303.2133 or send us an email at tom@tomreinolaw.com so that you can set up an initial consultation.

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