What Is Included In Estate Planning?

Texas Estate Planning, Administration, & Probate Attorney

Board Certified Estate Planning and Probate Law Attorney

Coming up with the right estate plan is about more than Wills, Trusts and Powers of Attorney. It is about protecting your estate from creditors, probate law and the effects of tax law. Attorney Thomas G. Bassler has a Masters in the Laws of Taxation and is a Board Certified Estate Planning and Probate Lawyer. His experience offers his clients a unique insight into their financial future. He can help you consider all your estate planning options:

Probate and Estate Administration

If you do not do your own estate planning, the State of Texas will do it for you. Specifically, if you die without a will, your property will pass by intestate succession. The problem is the State's plan is the same for everyone and the State, not you, directs who receives your assets and who is in charge of settling your estate.

Sometimes the beneficiary may not be the person who you think. For example, what if John and Mary are married and own a home and John dies without a Last Will and Testament? Under the State's Will, if John has a child from outside his marriage to Mary, the child inherits John's one-half (1/2) interest in the home. That may not have been how John would have left his interest in the home if he had written his own Will. This example underscores the importance of updating your estate plan if you remarry or experience other significant life events. By taking the time to come up with an estate plan, you can avoid the effects of the State's Will.

Finally, whether or not your loved one has left behind a will or estate plan, you will have to administer their assets. There are important deadlines and time period statutes that must be considered.

Wealth Preservation and Asset Protection

Texans enjoy some of the most liberal exempt property statutes in the country. A significant issue in any estate plan should be the preservation and protection of the assets one earns, inherits or accumulates. The Texas Constitution and related statutes provide that the following list of property is exempt from execution and attachment from one's creditors:

1. Rural Homestead - 200 Acres of land for a Couple (100 acres for a Single Person) if used as the primary residence of the Texan.

2. Urban Homesteads - 10 Acres of land which may be one or more continuous lots, together with improvements.

3. Business Homestead - Land situated at one location with operating family business up to 10 acres.

4. Personal Property - $60,000 for Couples ($30,000 for a Single Person) includes automobiles, furnishings and jewelry up to a limited amount.

5. Retirement Plans - Most qualified retirement plans are exempt with limited exceptions.

6. College Savings Plans - Internal Revenue Service Code 529 Plans.

7. Life Insurance Proceeds.

8. Annuities

At the Law Offices of Thomas G. Bassler, P.C., we integrate asset protection and wealth preservation techniques as part of an overall plan. Assets that exceed the statutory list provided above need special handling and planning to insulate them from the reach of creditors. Contact us online or by calling 210-826-8885 to get started with a will and estate plan that will fit your needs.