Many Texans believe that estate planning is either for the “wealthy” or for those approaching death. Estate Planning is a critically important step and is just as much about the here and now as it is about the future.
Estate Planning Matters:
- Charitable Planning
- Incapacity Planning
- Inheritance Planning
- Legacy Planning
- Special Needs Planning
- Tax Planning
- And more
Charitable planning involves everything from making a cash donation to your community library or animal shelter to setting up your own family foundation for charitable works.
Charitable Lead Trusts, Charitable Remainder Trusts, Private Foundations, Donor Advised Funds, Gift Annuities, and the like are all charitable planning tools.
Incapacity planning is a plan that provides for provisions to keep you in control of things if you are no longer able to manage routine daily affairs or financial issues as a result of becoming either disabled or incapacitated by injury, illness or both.
Incapacity planning revolves Revocable Living Trusts, Financial Powers of Attorney, Medical Powers of Attorney, HIPAA Releases, Living Wills, and Organ Donation Authorizations are all used to best ensure that your wishes are carried out when you don’t have the capacity to do so yourself.
Incapacity planning also includes nursing home planning, helping the elderly qualify for Medicaid to pay for nursing home costs.
Inheritance planning allows for your spouse, children, and grandchildren inherit assets from when you pass. You have the ability to create various types of trusts and a few provide incentives that require your beneficiaries to meet certain criteria before receiving any funds from the trust. Examples would be no payments until a certain age is reached, graduating from college, etc. A major part of inheritance planning is asset protection from a variety of threats.
Legacy planning involves leaving a legacy for your loved ones. Legacy planning allows the distribution of your assets via charitable giving in our outside of your family. Legacy planning may be a part of a Revocable Living Trust. This allows for you to continue family traditions such as funding annual vacations or ensuring the grandkids have the financial means to continue to proud family tradition of attending a prestigious learning institution. Alternatively, you could elect to help fund a charity or church by a generous annual gift.
There are many other categories of estate planning that are very personal and should be given consideration. Some of the more common are special needs planning, pet planning and tax planning.