Estate planning is an important function for most families. Estate planning allows Texas residents to designate how their assets are to be distributed and to whom. There are certain recommended steps to be taken for an estate plan.
One step is to appoint a trusted person to act on their behalf in the event of death or incapacitation. These trusted individuals are generally trustees over the assets or executors of the will, and the individuals will need to know where the estate documents are located. Another step is to write down wishes to make sure intentions are carried out. This can be done through legal documents such as a living will or power of attorney for finances. In addition, assets such as retirement accounts and insurance policies will need to have listed beneficiaries.
Another step is to create an inventory of assets and liabilities. This entails making a detailed list of banking information such as account numbers and contact information. Lastly, protect assets by having permanent life insurance or trusts. This can reduce overall expenses such as estate taxes and make it easier to transfer property and investments.
Not having an estate plan can present future challenges in the event of a death. Texas family members may be subjected to the probate process, or the state may even get involved to distribute assets as it sees fit. Becoming knowledgeable about estate planning techniques and having appropriate guidance may help distribute assets to intended family members and decrease the chances of unnecessary burdens.
Source: Forbes, Northwestern MutualVoice: 6 Essential Steps For Every Estate Plan, No author, March 12, 2014