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Finish your estate planning now rather than later

Not matter how much wealth you have been able to accumulate during your life, it is vital to have a functioning estate plan. Indeed, estate planning is not just about distributing money to your heirs. Estate planning is about making life easier on your heirs when you are gone, and it is also about making life easier on your caretakers in the event that you become incapacitated. 

In Texas, we invest in relationships throughout our lives and build loving relationships with friends, family members and co-workers. We also invest in building our wealth through hard work, savings and sacrifice. An estate plan can preserve that wealth, and it can also preserve and support the great relationships with the people in our lives. 

Regardless if your estate plan involves a will, a trust or multiple trusts, one can use different estate planning tools and strategies to reduce taxes for one's relatives, reduce legal fees that could come up post-death, and reduce the numerous costs and headaches associated with probate proceedings. Those who have not created a plan that achieves these and other goals run the risk of dying before its done. In such circumstances, state laws and the probate process will distribute our assets -- quite possibly in a way that is not in accordance with what we would have wanted.

After working for decades to earn and save your money, many would rather decide how to distribute those assets among their family, friends and favorite charities. Most people would like to have a medical power of attorney and financial power of attorney set up as a person they trust to make wise decisions on their behalf in the event of their incapacitation. By learning more about estate planning laws and strategies, Texas residents can make decisions on important matters in advance of the time when they are no longer able to decide.

Source: azcentral.com, "An estate plan leaves an essential itinerary", Nancy Tengler, March 31, 2015

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