Livens & Reed, PLLC

Documents needed for estate planning

Planning for the future is difficult for most Texas residents and others around the country. It is particularly daunting for an individual to think about when he or she won't be around anymore. However, it is important to make certain financial decisions now before someone is incapable of doing so later. Estate planning is a necessary process to ensure that the future needs of family members will be met.

Financial planners have suggested five specific documents that are necessary in estate planning. First, it is of utmost importance to have a will in place. A will specifically dictates how an individual wants to have an estate distributed. Having this document will hopefully eliminate potential disagreements among heirs about asset or property distribution.

Another important document is a POA, or power of attorney. A POA denotes who will handle the affairs of an individual should he or she become incapacitated. This could include major decisions, such as those involving finances, or routine tasks, such as handling mail.

The other three documents are those regarding health care. A health care proxy is critical in case someone cannot make medical decisions on their own. The person appointed in the proxy will take on the responsibility of making health care decisions. Also recommended were a HIPAA release and a living will.

A Texas attorney familiar with financial issues would be a valuable guide to assist someone with estate planning needs. A knowledgeable lawyer will help develop a strategy to protect a client's financial position now and in the future. Having a comprehension estate plan in place will ensure that loved ones will receive the appropriate portion of an inheritance as intended.

Source:, "Money Smart Week: The Five Documents You Need When Estate Planning", Michelle Ross, April 24, 2017

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