Life expectancy, which rose consistently in the United States for so long, has been falling now for three years in a row. That is happening even as other countries still see their life expectancies rising, so this isn't an issue for everyone. It's an issue for Americans.
A health care directive is a crucial part of an estate plan. In it, you designate your wishes for how you want medical providers to proceed if you become ill or incapacitated and are unable to make those wishes known.
Family relationships -- even those between parents and children -- become seemingly irreparably damaged for many reasons. When you're developing your estate plan, you may decide to disinherit a loved one -- leave them nothing. Sometimes, this is done for someone's own good. Money left to a child or other family member mired in addiction could end up killing them.
By taking the important step of creating an estate plan, you're ensuring that your assets will go to the family members and other beneficiaries you choose. You're also helping minimize the stress and expense for your family when it comes time to put your affairs in order.
The term "estate planning" can seem daunting. Many people believe it doesn't apply to them. However, when you look at what comprises an "estate," you'll see that virtually all adults have one.
Texans often work with their estate planning attorneys to structure trusts so that they can pass on family assets to their children. However, if those children and their spouses divorce, they often don't want the spouse to get a portion of those assets in the settlement. They want the money to stay in the family -- not to be split with a spouse who has gone their own way.
Here in Texas, as in the vast majority of states, it's illegal for anyone, including doctors, to help a person take their own life -- even if there's no hope of recovery, they're in considerable pain and the end is imminent. Whether it's called euthanasia, assisted suicide or mercy killing, Texas law prohibits "any act or omission other than to allow the natural process of dying."
Will. Estate plan. Death.
One of the most common estate planning tools that Texas families use in their estate plans is a trust. There are many types and varieties of trusts to choose from depending on your circumstances and needs.
You want to leave your heirs something when you pass away, but you're concerned that your heirs might spend the money or use the assets in a way that isn't wise. How can you protect your assets and beneficiaries?