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February 2013 Archives

Gov. Rick Perry's anti-Medicare stance gains support

According to a statement released by a spokeswoman of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the organization supports a recent decision by Texas Governor Rick Perry in which he reaffirmed his commitment not to expand Medicare in the state. The organization's belief is that Medicaid provides poor health care to enrollees in Texas. It also asserts that spending for the program continually increases in the state budget although its results do not improve.The spokeswoman, the executive director and director for the organization's Center for Health Care Policy, formerly served in the Texas House of Representatives and dealt with health care issues while in office. The organization itself is a non-profit organization that claims to have researched evidence proving that there are better solutions to the state's health care issues than the Medicaid program. Whether this research will affect upcoming legislative changes concerning Texas Medicaid eligibility and planning remains to be seen.

The benefits of planning an estate ahead of time

Most Texans are aware of the importance of drawing up a will to ensure that their assets are distributed according to their plans. However, another reason why estate planning is important is because it can prevent family in-fighting. When one's wishes are not laid out in a clear and definite way, it can lead to arguments about what his or her intent was; this can cause rifts to develop in families, and litigation often follows.Contesting a will or a trust can end up taking years because probate court does not move quickly. Even in a case where a family is simply trying to figure out what the decedent intended, it can take extended amounts of time to negotiate and agree on how assets such as a home or business are to be shared. This can leave families divided and keep people from having access to the funds that are meant for them. Additionally, legal battles are not free, and they can drain people's resources.

Texas lawmakers considering expansion of Medicaid

The longer life spans afforded by modern medicine are a boon in some respects. For the elderly requiring long-term care, those final years can be a nightmare filled with diminished assets and increasing debt. Medicaid planning encompasses many tactics used to protect assets and maximize Medicaid eligibility for long-term health care coverage. It may be used to protect the assets of a healthy spouse and preserve the estate for heirs. Potential changes to Medicaid law in Texas may alter the rules of long-term care planning.In Texas, Republicans have so far chosen to opt out of participation in the Medicaid expansion plan offered under the Affordable Care Act. Opposition continues despite a recent report from the former Deputy Comptroller for the state, which predicted Medicaid expansion would result in over 230,000 new jobs and a return to the state of $100 billion by 2016.

Smooth transfer of power requires proper estate planning

Planning for the future is often a difficult prospect, especially when it is the future of a Texas family-owned business or corporation that will outlive the current executive. However, a transparent and carefully crafted plan helps to keep the family legacy intact, provides wealth protection and allows for a predictable distribution of assets to the heirs and surviving spouse. The vital business succession aspect of estate planning involves training the next generation of executives, creating a protocol for succession and considering the family dynamics.Research shows that around 70 percent of family-owned businesses fail to transition to the second generation. One cause of this is poor planning, which may lead to intestacy, will contest litigation and lost business revenue. An estate plan allows the executive to create a formal path for transition that minimizes business risk, the inheritance tax and other associated fees and taxes.

Making advanced plans for valuable real estate

A person's home is often one of their most valuable possessions. In addition to its monetary value, a home is a place where families create memories over the years. That is why it is so important to make sure a home is accounted for when people in Houston and others elsewhere begin the estate planning process.

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