Articles Tagged with Houston Power of Attorney

Woman hands checking calendarJanuary is an excellent time to review and update your estate plan – even if all you do is make a list of the things you mean to do in 2016. A recent article in The Business Investor's Daily, "5 Changes to Make to Your Financial Plan Now," provides a framework to get things rolling.

Make gifts to family. Plan to give gifts of cash or tangible property of up to $14,000 per person because there's no limit on how many gifts you can make, and there is no gift or estate tax. Couples can combine their gift giving to $28,000 per person. This is an easy way to reduce a potentially taxable estate. Establish a long-term strategy and give annual gifts to your beneficiaries.

Give to charity. You can also make a donation to a charity, and if you tend to make significant charitable donations, consider establishing a family foundation. To avoid capital gains tax, you should consider donating appreciated assets like stocks. A donor-advised fund is another way to receive a charitable deduction today, avoid capital gains tax and retain the authority to determine its future use.

Cute baby faceFinancial planners who help families build and manage assets are often asked what documents are needed in an estate plan. The following documents create a foundation of an estate plan: an up-to-date will, a durable power of attorney for health care (sometimes called a health care proxy), and an advance health care directive (also known as a living will).

Property transfer clarity. We hear about the disastrous fallouts when celebrities die without wills or other crucial documents in place. Elvis Presley is a famous example, but there are countless others, including James Gandolfini, Whitney Houston and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the past few years. Who needs that kind of drama?

If you have a valid will, the transfer of assets is much less confusing and difficult. A will tells your executor or personal representative how your assets should be distributed. A will can also state the order in which your heirs should receive these assets—in case funds run out before all of the bequests are fulfilled.

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