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Texas estate planning like that of Crawleys and Ewings

People in Texas are used to hearing about families, both fictional and real, with large and valuable estates. In fact, one of the most popular television shows of the 1980s portrayed the lives of a local family. Now another family is making ratings, the Crawleys, fictional stars of series Downton Abbey. In fact, one authority suggests that estate planning lessons can be learned from the show.

The fictional family, like many in Texas, could benefit from proper estate planning, the authority says. In a report he notes that the family could use a will to distribute assets in a specific bequest or use a trust to disperse the large value property that the family owns. This may have helped save some of the money that was lost through bad investments of the Earl of Grantham.

In fact, the official notes, estate planning efforts could ensure the fate of the family home. For many people in Texas and elsewhere, the family home is among the largest assets in an estate. Many heirs may wish to liquidate the home after the death of a parent. However, as is the case in families such as the fictional Crawleys, the home remains in the family, sometimes in a trust.

Though estate planning can appear complicated to some people in our state, the efforts can pay off when the wishes of an individual are followed after their death. In cases such as those that are similar to the ones portrayed on television, the details of estate planning documents can be important as large assets are divided. To ensure that the desire result is achieved, careful estate planning may be important to some in Texas.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "3 retirement and estate-planning lessons from 'Downton Abbey'," Glenn Ruffenachif, March 4, 2013

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