Most Texans do not have an estate plan in place to dictate what should happen to their assets and finances after they pass away. And after they create an estate plan, they tend to not think about it often after that. While having the estate plan itself is commendable and important, estate plans can become out of date and less useful for the individual who created them. Because of this, it is important to know if an estate plan is out of date and have an experienced attorney review the document every few years.
Why Is It Important to Have an Estate Plan in Place?
It is a common misconception that estate planning is merely deciding who will receive a person’s assets after they pass away. While this is a critical part of estate planning, a person’s estate plan will often include other directives, including a fiduciary power of attorney and healthcare directive. These documents will provide someone else with the power to make medical and financial decisions on the other person’s behalf if they become incapacitated and cannot make these choices for themselves.
However, for people who pass away without an estate plan in place, the probate court will determine who receives their assets. Regardless of how the deceased felt about them, most of the assets will then be given to the closest of kin—rather than with an estate plan, where the individual can personally decide who will inherit their funds when they pass.
How Do I Make Sure My Estate Plan Is Up to Date?
After someone has drafted an estate plan, it is important to review the document every few years to make sure it is up to date. Making sure an estate plan is not outdated includes reviewing new laws that may impact the estate plan—including estate and gift taxes. For example, while Texas does not have an estate tax, there is one federally and the amount changes every few years. Because of this, Texans should review their plan with the help of an attorney to make sure it complies with these legal changes.
Additionally, reviewing an estate plan every few years can ensure the person’s current relationships and familial situation is reflected in the document. This may include adding individuals to the will that are born or marry into the family or removing individuals from the will if they have passed away.
Because it is critical to make sure an estate plan is not outdated, individuals who have not reviewed their plan in the past few years should contact an experienced attorney.
Contact a Houston Estate Planning Attorney
If you or a loved one needs to create an estate plan, contact the Houston estate planning attorneys at McCulloch & Miller, PLLC. Our experienced attorneys will make sure to work with you to draft an estate plan that meets your needs. And if you already have an estate plan in place, we can make sure it complies with all estate planning laws and is updated based on your current situation. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation, call us today at 713-333-8900.