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Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid in Texas: Common Missteps and How to Prevent Them

pen, paper, glasses, and the word "estate planning"

An "estate plan" is an arrangement for protecting, investing, and transferring assets both during a person’s lifetime and after.[1] Estate planning is a critical aspect of financial planning, and mistakes can have significant consequences for you and your loved ones. Here are some common estate planning mistakes and tips to avoid them.

Procrastination

Many people postpone estate planning because they believe they will have time to handle it later. Just 34% of adult Americans have an estate plan and 37% of respondents said they didn't have a plan at the ready.[2] To safeguard yourself and your family, you should have an estate plan in place because unforeseen circumstances can occur at any time.

Failing to Update Your Estate Plan

Another common mistake is failing to update your estate plan. Your life circumstances can change over time, such as the birth of a child or grandchild, changes in marital status, or acquiring new assets. Your estate plan should reflect these changes to ensure that your wishes are carried out properly.

Not Considering Taxes

Taxes are an important consideration in estate planning. In Texas, failing to take taxes into account can result in significant tax liabilities for your heirs.[3] Working with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney or tax professional can help you minimize tax implications and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

Not Considering Your Digital Assets

In today's digital age, it's essential to consider your digital assets in your estate plan. Failing to do so can result in these assets being lost or inaccessible to your loved ones.[4] You should consider including a digital asset plan in your estate plan that includes instructions on how to access and manage your digital assets.

Conclusion

Estate planning is a critical component of financial planning. Avoiding common mistakes can help ensure that your wishes are carried out properly. To avoid mistakes, work with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney, keep your plan updated, and consider all aspects of your estate, including taxes and digital assets. With careful planning and attention to detail, you can ensure that your loved ones are taken care of according to your wishes.

This blog post is intended to be for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. You should always consult with qualified legal counsel to determine applicable legal requirements in a specific fact situation, as every case is unique. This also does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.


[1]  1 Texas Estate Planning § 1.01

[2]  Greenberg, Gregg, Procrastinating Americans putting off estate plans, says D.A. Davidson survey, Investment News, (Oct. 11, 2022), https://www.investmentnews.com/procrastinating-americans-putting-off-estate-plans-says-d-a-davidson-survey-227521.

[3] Texas Estate Planning, supra note 1.

[4] See Tex. Est. Code § 402.003 .