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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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Estate planning is a way to ensure your wishes come to fruition even when you are no longer able to carry them out or supervise their fulfillment. Yet, according to InvestmentNews, in 2017 only 36% of parents with minor children and 42% of adults in general in the U.S. had a living will or trust.

It is important to begin preparing for the future early to take care of your loved ones. As you do, there are certain vital estate documents you need to assemble.

1. Last will and testament

This is the document in which you specify the distribution of your assets. It is also where you appoint a guardian for any underage children in your charge.

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If your father drafted a will before he died, he had more of an estate plan than most. In fact, according to a recent study, nearly 70% of Americans do not have even a basic will. Still, whether you stand to inherit considerable wealth or nothing at all, you want to be sure your father’s will reflects his true wishes.

Undue influence happens when an influencer pressures a person to draft a will in a way that benefits the influencer often to the detriment of traditional beneficiaries. Here are four signs someone may have exerted undue influence over your father’s will.

1. Too much participation

While there is nothing inherently wrong with having a friend, family member or someone else help draft a will, too much participation from a nonprofessional may be a sign of undue influence.

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