National surveys show that over 55% of adults in Texas and elsewhere around the country do not have a will or trust in place. Without these documents, many families find themselves in probate court after the loss of a loved one. Furthermore, having a will alone does not necessarily keep family members out of probate. This could lead to unwanted conflict and potential legal battles. However, with thoughtful estate planning and the establishment of certain accounts, this strife can likely be avoided.
The many tools available for estate planning can help ensure that each Texas resident has the opportunity to create his or her plan according to specific wishes. Of course, these many tools can also seem overwhelming to individuals who may not know much about estate planning. Fortunately, information is available on the uses of planning options, including living trusts.
Most people are familiar with popular components of a contemporary estate plan in Texas. These components can include wills, trusts, medical directives and power of attorney documents. In addition to safeguarding our physical and financial assets through estate planning, there is now a need to provide protection and dispensation instructions for one's digital assets. This has been taken up under measures such as the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA) which has been passed by many states, including Texas.
According to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services' Administration on Aging, adults from Texas and all across the country over the age of 65 will eventually need some assistance with basic life tasks. On average, women will need help for over 3.5 years with bathing, dressing and eating, while men will require just over two years of assistance. While this need for long-term care is evident, the cost of the care is prohibitive for many.