Livens & Reed, PLLC

What documents are essential for estate planning?

When musical icon Aretha Franklin passed away in 2018, many reports focused on the fact that she did not have a will in place. Other notable entertainers, such as Prince and Kurt Cobain, were in the same situation, despite having all the means necessary to go through a comprehensive estate planning process. Most Texas residents are not dealing with estates of the same magnitude as these celebrities. However, it is still of utmost importance to address financial issues to avoid potential problems for one's family members.

If someone dies without a will, the probate process determines how an estate will be divided. Decisions would also be made about who should care for any minor children. Most individuals would not want to leave these types of decisions up to a court. Therefore, it is critical to include several documents in an estate plan.

The most basic of plans should include a will that determines how one's assets will be distributed. The will could also address the issue of guardianship for children. Others include directives about charitable giving and naming executors to administer the estate.

Many people also have a living will in place. This document expresses how a person wants their affairs handled should he or she become incapacitated. Making these decisions early and having them on record alleviates any conflict that may arise among family members at a later time. Finally, it is also important to grant power of attorney to someone so that business can be conducted on one's behalf.

Regardless of income level, it is apparent that the estate planning process can be worthwhile to everyone. The documents in a thorough plan come about after much thought and contemplation about how a person wants things to be handled in the future. A Texas attorney familiar with estate administration can help clients develop a plan that specifically addresses their specific situations.

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