For those Texas residents who are uncertain of its meaning, estate planning is the process of planning for the orderly and most effective use and disposal of one's assets both during life and at death. Estate planning is closely related in many ways to the activity of financial planning. Some concrete examples of estate planning actions are: making a will, buying life insurance, creating a living trust, opening a retirement account and supporting the funding of an investment portfolio.
Procrastination is the constant foe of estate planning. When procrastination prevails over action, a person's financial affairs during life can be challenged. At death, his or her family may suffer negative consequences and lose substantial amounts of assets that would have otherwise been inherited.
The process may be initiated first by sitting down with one's immediate family members to discuss the general choices and direction that the plan will take. The individual or married couple must then choose an experienced estate planning attorney and, where appropriate, one or more other financial advisers to assist in creating the estate plan. There are no templates for such a process.
Each case being totally unique in its own facts, the prospect of using form documents is a poor choice for such important planning matters. Forms may tend to create numerous problems in interpretation and meaning of the person's actual intent. Forms may tend to increase the statistical chances of having estate conflicts between family members after one dies.
Additionally, tax matters and other complex legal formulations cannot be handled through templates or standardized procedures. With such critical ramifications, playing roulette with one's assets and family peace of mind for the future is a perilous road to travel. In Texas, it is always best to work closely with a team of professionals, with the estate planning attorney at the helm of the ship.
Source: cincinnati.com, "Getting started is the first step in estate planning", J. Brendan Ryan, May 27, 2016