Estate planning experts often point out that when it comes to issues related to wills, trusts, business succession issues, testamentary devices and other estate planning issues, there are quite a few myths that circulate in “polite society.” Here are four common estate planning myths that we would like to dispel.
Probably the most widely held—and erroneous—belief about Texas estate planning is that it’s only for the super-wealthy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Actually, the level of your wealth does not typically dictate whether or not you need a plan; it does influence the type of plan that you should probably put in place. Estate planning attorneys like to point out that if a person (or couple) fails to craft a specific estate plan, the State of Texas is quite happy to do so on the person’s behalf. Typically, however, what the State has in mind will not conform very well to a person’s own desires.
Many Texans erroneously think that if they have a simple will, they need not worry about any sort of trust for their estate plan. One must always bear in mind that, for the most part, children under the age of 18 cannot inherit many forms of property outright. In many cases, the property must be held for the benefit of the child, either by a guardian or by a special custodian. In either setting, there can be needless expense. Moreover, many parents don’t want their child or children to get a sizeable bequest on his or her 18th birthday. They may not handle the assets wisely. An appropriately drafted trust can handle these issues, save money in the long run, and provide some solid peace of mind.
Somewhat like Myth #2, many Texans think they do not need a plan because most, or all, their property is due to pass to the spouse at their death. They think they need not be concerned with either naming a guardian or trustee for the benefit of minor children because the surviving spouse will be around to make the appropriate decisions. Consider, however, that tragedies occur. How will your property be handled if you and your spouse die in a common accident?
Situations often change, particularly with the passage of time. What if your surviving spouse remarries and becomes a stepmother or stepdad? Have you considered that the children of that new spouse might share in your hard-earned wealth? If you left all your property to your surviving spouse, with no strings attached (i.e., no trust), the “blended” family may get a share.
The attorneys at Romano & Sumner have more than 20 years of combined experience providing expert legal assistance to clients in all sorts of estate and trust matters. Oour estate planning litigators have helped countless clients with wills and trusts. We have assisted parents with guardianship language in their estate planning documents. Our experienced Sugar Land estate planning lawyers know the “ins and outs” of the Texas Estates Code and we have assisted many clients in the handling of both routine and complex matters.
At Romano & Sumner, we pride ourselves not only on our professionalism, but also upon our client service. We know that each situation is unique. We return phone calls within one business day. We keep our clients well informed as to the status of their case. We complete the work within the allotted time frame. Call us at 281–242–0995 or complete our online contact form.
Romano & Sumner, PLLC