Any well-drafted Texas Will contains your nomination of at least one Independent Executor. This person will file your Will for admission to probate, receive the appointment by the Probate Court and assume responsibility for gathering your assets, paying proper debts and distributing the remainder to your beneficiaries. Because their position comes with such authority and responsibility at a time when you are gone, you'll want to make sure that you place confidence and trust in them today. Review your current estate plan with enough regularity to be certain that your confidence and trust is still well-placed.
Consider the Potential for Growth
Many estate planning clients, particularly younger ones, recognize that their estates might be modest today. Consider that your estate might grow considerably from the time that you execute your estate plan until the time that it springs into action. Will the federal estate tax likely become a concern? Will that interest in the family business flourish into something significant? If the questions make little impact on your plan today, outline some benchmark moments in time to review your plan with your attorney and make modifications and adjustments.
Anticipate Minors or Incapacitated Beneficiaries
Minor children, grandchildren and incapacitated individuals can make for challenging beneficiaries. Consider the possibility that your Will might provide for such people at a time when they are legally or mentally unable to look after their own property. In those cases, you might consider the use of contingent trust provisions to appoint a responsible person or institution as Trustee until your beneficiaries can manage their own property prudently.
Align Your Entire Estate With Your Plan
Some of the most significant assets we own are often referred to as "non-probate" assets. Life insurance proceeds, retirement accounts and certain bank accounts are excellent examples of assets that traditionally pass to individuals irrespective of what your Will might say. When deciding how to divide your estate, consider the impact of the choices you made when you designated beneficiaries on these assets as well. Review them with your attorney and modify them, if needed, to achieve the goal you have in mind.
Think About the Next Step
Many clients consult with an attorney, execute a Will, file it away in the house and forget about it. Competent estate planning involves considering some dire scenarios. While we would all prefer to live to a ripe old age, such is sadly often not the case. What happens when the worst happens? In your Will, you will have nominated several people to take care of important things. Let them know in advance, so that they can act quickly to start tending to them. If you do not wish to provide them with a copy of your documents, at least consider letting them know where the documents can be located at the right time.
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