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When you and your spouse got married, you united not only your lives but also your families. This can be a wonderful thing, but it also comes with many new challenges. Therefore, you need to create an estate plan to protect each other and your children. If you are in a blended family in Texas, there are some specific things you need to take into account. Let's look at them below.

Estate planning and subsequent marriages in Texas

When you marry in Texas, part of your property will become your partner's. In fact, they will have a superior say in what happens to your assets when you die than any other person related to you. That's why estate planning is necessary to protect all your heirs, including those from your previous marriages.

Considerations when estate planning for your blended family

Here are some of the crucial factors to keep in mind after marrying into another family:

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In Texas, one of the most important steps you can take to secure your loved ones' futures is to have an estate plan in place. This document will dictate how your estate should be handled after your death. It's important to have a frank discussion with your family about your estate plan so that they know what to expect.

Why should you have the discussion?

There are a few reasons why having this conversation is so critical. For starters, it can help avoid family conflict. If everyone knows what to expect, there's less of a chance for disagreements to arise about who should inherit what.

This conversation is also so important because it allows you to make sure that your wishes are carried out after you die. You may want to leave particular assets to certain family members, or you may want to set up a trust to take care of your children. Whatever your wishes may be, having this conversation with your family can help make sure they're carried out.

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Your business in Texas is likely to deteriorate if you pass away or become incapacitated without an estate plan. Estate taxes, unclear ownership and leadership are the leading business killers. Here's how you can make sure your business is in safe hands with an estate plan.

Estate planning for business in Texas

Estate planning for business involves setting up strategies that determine how your beneficiaries, business partners, creditors, etc., will deal with your company if you're incapacitated or after your passing. This is critical because even when you are incapable of working, things should go according to your plan. In addition, a good estate plan can help your beneficiaries or your business itself from suffering serious tax consequences.

Get all documents tied to your business in order

For you to create a solid estate plan, you need to first find all the documents that prove your ownership and authority in your business as well as your other assets. For instance, a financial power of attorney will give someone you trust the power to run your business or estate when you are incapable. While that is in action, you can use an advanced health care directive to give someone power to make medical decisions for you or have your own directives regarding how doctors should treat you when incapacitated. Other important documents include:

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It might be every hardworking Texas resident’s dream to create generational wealth that will keep their family supported for years to come. Even if you’re a millionaire, it still takes careful planning to create substantial generational wealth that will last beyond when you pass.

The exact estate plan that you set up will depend on what assets you have to your name and how much you want to leave behind. In general, though, there are some things that people who wish to leave enough behind to jumpstart a tradition of generational wealth can do with their estate plans.

What’s one of the biggest takeaways for estate planning?

Before you start estate planning, it’s important to be intentional with your planning. Generally, you can either plan around the family you have that’s living at the time of your estate planning or you can plan into the future.

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If you recently lost your mom or dad, you now may be in charge of settling their estate. You might feel overwhelmed by this task. You know the process may be complicated. You also know that the probate process can be lengthy. So how long exactly will probate take?

Understanding probate

First, you may not know exactly what probate is. It is the legal process involved in settling someone's estate. With a will, probate involves proving that the will is valid, distributing the assets as the will lays out and paying any applicable taxes. How long it will take your parent’s estate to go through probate depends on several factors. If their estate is simple and no one disputes their will, you could settle their estate within six months. If your parent had set up a living trust for their assets, those assets don't have to go through probate. However, the probate process could take more than a year if any of the following circumstances apply:

  • If you live in a different state and can’t easily meet with an attorney helping with the estate probate administration
  • If the estate has numerous beneficiaries and some of them live out of state too
  • If numerous debts need to be settled as part of the probate process
  • If one of your siblings decides to contest your parent’s will
  • If the estate assets are complicated (such as multiple properties are involved or you have a family business included in the assets)

Getting help with probate administration

If your parent had a complicated estate, you may want help with probate administration. An estate planning attorney can provide guidance about the process and even handle the process for you to take that burden off your plate. An attorney also can help if your parent’s will is contested – to help resolve the dispute as quickly as possible.

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