Estate Planning Basics – Issues with Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning in Texas

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Who Needs Estate Planning?

Estate planning is not something reserved for the rich, or for people of a certain age. The truth is that every adult–young or old, rich or poor–needs an Estate Plan. Almost every adult has certain things that they want to pass along to the next generation–whether that be a home, vehicles, savings accounts, retirement accounts, stocks, or a multitude of other items. Likewise, for families with children under 18, it is vital to have an Estate Plan so that you can ensure your kids will be taken care of after your death.

 

What is Involved in an Estate Plan?

An Estate Plan is simply a plan that you and your family develop to protect you, your assets, and your loved ones. It is your way of making sure that your children, your property, and the people you care about are taken care of both during your lifetime and after your death.

While there are many issues involved in this process, here are the major issues that face most families:

(1) End-of-Life Issues

Examples of these types of issues include…

  • Who will take care of me if I become disabled mentally or physically?
  • Who will make my medical decisions if I am not able to make decisions for myself?
  • Who will make my financial decisions for me if I am not able to make decisions for myself?
  • Do I want to be kept on life-support if I am in a terminal or irreversible condition?
  • Do I want to make any gifts of cash, real estate, etc. to my relatives or a charity during my lifetime?

(2) Post-Mortem Issues

Examples of these types of issues include…

  • How will my family pay for my end-of-life expenses (e.g. medical bills, funeral costs, etc.)?
  • Who will take care of my minor children if I pass away?
  • Who should receive my property and how do I make the process as easy as possible?
  • Do I have any relatives with special needs that need to be taken care of (or relatives who would not be able to handle large sums of money well)?
  • How do I avoid paying taxes (at least as much as possible)?

While the list above is not a comprehensive list of all the issues involved in making an Estate Plan, this list should at least give you an idea of the types of questions involved in making a good Estate Plan.

As you can see, almost every adult has some issue from the list above that is relevant to their family. The best way to deal with these issues is to spend the time to create an Estate Plan now, before tragedy strikes. The simple truth is that we all have a 100% chance of dying some day, and it is important that we take the time to plan for our death and the end of our life.

If you have questions about how to create a Will as part of a comprehensive Estate Plan, give our Plano Will Lawyer and Plano Estate Planning Attorneys a call at 214-886-7633.

Also, if you would like to read more about Estate Planning basics, click here to get a free copy of our book, The Basics of Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning in Texas.