Community Property, UFMA, UTMA, 529 Plans, Prenuptial Agreements

Other Estate Planning Issues




Life is unpredictable. Families are changing. Blended families are far more common these days. People remarry. They relocate to different states, and much more. It’s impossible to predict all of the possibilities that each individual may encounter when discussing estate planning, as a general topic.

In an effort to touch upon some of the other issues that you may encounter, we present information on some of the estate planning topics that don’t necessarily fall under the “common” subjects. Obviously, we cannot cover everything, but the following are other issues that some of you may encounter. Use this information as a “jumping off” point and as inspiration for further research, should you need it. Copyright HG.org

Estate Planning in Community Property States

A minority of U.S. states are defined as community property states. Currently there are nine: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Wisconsin operates under marital property law, but it has a system similar to community property and is referred to as being essentially a community property state. Alaska is an opt-in community property state. Property is considered separate property unless both spouses agree to make it community property through a community property agreement or a community property trust.

Visit our overview at Estate Planning in Community Property States

Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA)/Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA)

There are other means of providing money to your minor child or grandchild besides a Will or a standard Trust. The most common way is through a custodial account under the Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) or the Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (UTMA).

Visit our overview at UGMA/UTMA

529 College Savings Plans

A 529 College Savings Plan is a tax-advantaged education savings plan designed to encourage families to reserve funds for future college costs. It is a very flexible and effective way for one to use a large portion of his/her estate for a relative’s future educational expenses. Also known as a qualified tuition plan or program, it is sponsored by state government and administered by investment companies. It is named after Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code which created these types of savings plans in 1996.

Visit our overview at 529 College Saving Plans

Prenuptial Agreements in Estate Planning

A prenuptial agreement, often referred to simply as a prenup, is a contract between both parties intending to marry, entered into prior to the wedding. These agreements generally contain provisions for the division of property and an agreement about the spousal support that one party may receive in the event of a divorce. This contract can also have a major impact on your estate plan, especially with second or subsequent marriages.

Visit our overview at Prenups & Estate Planning

When Circumstances Change

Creating an Estate Plan is wonderful. However, circumstances change, and it’s important to be aware of when you need to reevaluate your estate plan. Things change; people move; they remarry; people die. It’s important to know when you need to reevaluate your estate plan and make any necessary changes.

For a list, visit When to Review Your Estate Plan

Find a Local Lawyer