Month: December 2013

HOUSTON FAMILY LAWYER’S ADVICE FOR NEWLYWED FINANCES

Whether you are planning to get married or are already enjoying your wedded bliss, there is no time like the present to get financial advice from a knowledgeable family lawyer in Houston. You and your partner should put more planning into your financial future than you did into your wedding, after all, one only lasts a day and the other is for the rest of your lives!

Financial discussions are not always easy, but laying out a clear roadmap early on can actually be beneficial to the overall health of your marriage. Money issues are a huge contributor to unhappiness in a partnership, and Houston family lawyers have seen time and again how working together earlier can avoid a lot of stress later on in the relationship.

Planning for the Future

It is impossible to peer into the future and know everything that you and your spouse are going to face together, but there are some pretty obvious considerations to make. Talking with your partner and possibly with a family lawyer in Houston can help you determine how you plan to approach many of the biggest financial considerations facing newlyweds.

· College and/or student loans

· Purchasing a home

· Planning for children

· Funding retirement

· Life insurance policies

· Other large purchases (cars, furniture, etc.)

· Travel

Planning for these types of things can cause some stress, but it can also be fun. Knowing that you eventually want to be able to take a trip to Paris and then taking concrete steps to make it happen can be a wonderful bonding experience and will also pay off in the experience of a lifetime. Family lawyers in Houston see all too often how couples get into financial difficulties by taking trips or making large purchases when they have not planned ahead to make them realities.

Planning for the Present

While just as important, sometimes figuring out what to do about finances right now is a little less fun. Still, you and your spouse need to take the opportunity to look at your current financial situation in order to make your long-term goals a reality. There are some considerations that are especially important for newlywed planning, too, when it comes to how to combine (or not) your finances.

· What are your expectations when it comes to money

· Which finances and accounts will be combined, and which will not

· How will you deal with debt brought into the marriage

· Will there be resentment if one spouse makes more money than the other

· What are your views on using credit

Budgeting

In order to develop a long-term plan, you and your partner will need to use the above information to create a workable budget. This should include:

· Income (wages, businesses, investments)

· Assets (accounts, stocks, retirement, property)

· Debts (school, home loans, business loans, credit cards)

· Expenses (ongoing and incidental)

By laying out what you have and what you need, you can develop a plan to help meet your current requirements, as well as to save for the future. A good family lawyer in Houston can help you put all of this information into perspective to create workable plan to meet your financial needs.

AVOID THESE SURPRISES WITH YOUR WILL LAWYER IN HOUSTON

Will lawyers in Houston have more or less seen it all, yet things still come as a surprise to our clients when it comes to wills and trusts. When you are ready to start the estate planning process (which should be now, by the way), here are a few estate planning surprises you may want to keep in mind:

1. Nearly every estate that owns real property or mineral rights will go through Houston probate. Because probate is a public process in the courts, your information becomes public. Trusts may protect you from this.

2. Even if you have a will, #1 applies.

3. If you do not have a will or trust, the courts will decide who gets your assets and even who becomes the guardian of your children.

4. You are still responsible for debts after your death, and they will be collected out of your estate.

5. It may be a good idea to give away portions of your estate before you die in order to avoid extra taxes.

6. Estate plans, including your will, need to be updated regularly or there can be some really ugly implications later.

7. Life insurance and other funds that name beneficiaries might not be considered as a part of your estate for Houston probate purposes.

8. Minor children, as well as pets, cannot actually inherit from you. In the case of minor children, they will not receive their full inheritance until age 18. To ensure your pets and children have money when they need it, it is often best to create a trust to manage the assets.

9. Every single estate plan needs to be customized, despite what DIY kits and online sellers will tell you.

10. Trusts can give ownership of your property to someone else, so you want to carefully determine what kind of trust will allow you to keep using your assets until you pass away.

This list is far from complete, but these are some of the estate planning surprises that come up for clients, either during the planning phase or when a person has already passed away and the family is left to figure out what to do. A trust lawyer in Houston can help you prepare for, and avoid many of these less-than-desirable situations by making you aware of them and helping you figure out the best course of action to take.