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Rules are rules, and insurance companies are all about rules

A life insurance policy can be an important piece of an estate plan. The funds are distributed soon after the insured's death (or soon after the insurance company learns of the insured's death) and are not subject to the probate process or estate tax. And, the beneficiary need not be a person: It can be a trust or a charitable organization, for example.

Mickey Rooney back in the spotlight as wife contests his will

Mickey Rooney's passing apparently did not end the dispute between the actor and his wife and stepson. We discussed the situation at length in our April 15 and 24 posts. A few years ago, Rooney accused his wife, her son and her son's wife of financial and verbal abuse. He even spoke to Congress about his ordeal.

Joseph Yule dies, leaves $18k estate and lessons re: elder abuse

Ninian Joseph Yule Jr. passed away recently. He was 93 and had been in show business for more than 88 years. He starred in more than 200 movies -- even if he was not the lead, he was always a star. Like so many actors of the 1930s and '40s, his personal life was often more interesting than his work. He was married eight times and had as many or more children and step-children. His was not the typical story of an actor who peaked early and then fell apart.

Texas wills: Estate planning for terminally ill patients in Texas

It can be difficult for many patients in Texas to concentrate on anything else when given the news that they have a terminal condition. Talks of wills and other estate planning documents may be the furthest thing from their minds. However, this would be the time for patients to put their wishes into writing in order to ensure their wishes are carried out when the time comes.

Texas wills: Are parents leaving money to their kids?

Surveys indicate that many children expect to receive an inheritance when their parents pass away. Those that believe they will receive an inheritance typically put the money toward retirement or paying off debt. However, Texas parents may be interested to know that some parents are no longer leaving children money in their wills.

Texas wills and trusts aren't just about taxes

Many people in Texas may be under the impression that the reason for an estate plan is to reduce or eliminate estate taxes. Those who are of that school of thought may feel free to ignore the need for wills and other estate planning documents since the estate tax exemption is over $5 million per person now. However, there are numerous other reasons to have an estate plan, and with the attention taken off of taxes, those reasons can become the focus.

Wills are important for Texas farmers looking to bequeath land

Keeping the family farm in the family can be tricky, but careful estate planning can help. Wills are definitely important for any Texas rancher or farmer wanting to pass on that land to the generations of the future. Luckily, Congress has made the process somewhat easier with some changes that were made to the estate tax laws for 2013.

The importance of wills in estate planning in Texas

When it comes to estate planning, there are nearly as many options as there are people in Texas. Nevertheless, there is one document that is included in every estate plan -- the will. Wills provide the foundation for an estate plan. This is the document that will govern what happens to an individual's assets, liabilities and even minor children upon death.

Google dashboard lets people decide what happens to their online data

Last week, Texas readers may recall that we discussed how important it is to make digital assets a part of the estate planning process. People often consider what will happen to their homes and large sums of money. However, it is also a good idea to consider what should happen to digital assets.

Considering your digital assets when making estate plans

Like so many people, Houston residents likely spend a lot of time online. Whether it's checking bank accounts or browsing Facebook, so much of our lives exist online. As people are perusing their online accounts they may not think about what will happen to them when they die. However, people in Texas and beyond should take the time to make plans for their digital assets.

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