The Livens Law Firm

Why estate planning is important for Texas residents

A survey conducted revealed that only 35 percent of individuals have created a will. Proper estate planning may play a vital part in the distribution of assets. Estate planning can also make a difference in whether surviving Texas family members are involved in a bitter dispute upon death.

This case is an example of why estate planning is such a crucial function. A woman was in critical condition after being in a house fire. She was sent to the burn unit and is on a ventilator. The family was in the process of working with medical professionals, but there was a problem. The woman had previously refused to create a will due to being protective over her personal information.

A will is a document that lays out how a grantor wants his or her assets to be distributed. She also did not have a health-care power of attorney, which grants another individual authority to make decisions on one's behalf regarding health care. A power of attorney is important, especially if someone becomes incapacitated. The most common documents to be incorporated into estate planning are insurance policies and retirement accounts. In addition to common documents, it may be important to create a letter of instruction and inform a trusted individual of where it's located.

Individuals who do not create an estate plan end up leaving their assets to be distributed by the state. The state of Texas determines who will receive assets and what portion they will receive. This can create a multitude of family turmoil and trips to the courtroom. Estate planning can help avoid these consequences and create peace of mind for grantors as well as their families.

Source: The Washington Post, Put your estate plan on paper before it's too late, Michelle Singletary, March 20, 2014

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