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Major life events trigger need for estate planning

Predicting the future is impossible, and life has the potential to change instantly. This is why it is critical for people in Texas to be prepared by engaging in estate planning. Estate planning allows people to plan for their deaths as well as for incapacity, ensuring that people are in place to manage their assets, pay their bills and make medical decisions for them if they are unconscious at a hospital. Other life events can spark an interest in creating or updating an estate plan as well.

One life event that usually triggers the creation of a will or changes in a will is marriage. Before a person is married, his or her primary beneficiaries are usually parents, kids or siblings. Following the wedding, this typically shifts to the new spouse. The beneficiaries need to be changed not only in a will but also on life insurance policies and retirement plans.

The birth of a child is another major life event that usually signals the need to create or update a will. Both parents of the child may end up dying while the child is a minor, which is why it is wise for parents to appoint guardians for their minor children as well as create trusts for any funds the children may inherit. If a guardian is not named for a minor, one will be appointed by a court.

If a person in Texas fails to create an estate plan, then the state's law as well as the courts will determine who will inherit his or her assets. The state and courts will also be the ones to determine who will have the authority to manage an incapacitated person's affairs. An applied understanding of the law may help people to successfully complete estate planning in a manner that considers their and their families' best interests.

Source: doughroller.net, "11 Life Events That Tell You It's Time to Get a Will", Pamela Buskirk, Feb. 1, 2016

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