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Estate planning essential for estates of all sizes

Estate planning is not usually high up on anyone's "to-do" list. After all, Texans naturally prefer to live in the moment and enjoy life rather than talk about death and illness. Nevertheless, estate planning is essential for making sure that one's wishes are met in the event of an unexpected incapacitation or death.

Some individuals in Texas think estate plans are unnecessary because they don't have enough assets to warrant a formal last will and testament. In reality, an estate plan is a significant undertaking no matter the size of a person's estate. Developing an estate plan is important, but it's also necessary to update it every time a big life event occurs within the family, such as a marriage, death, birth or divorce.

An estate plan focuses on efficiently distributing one's assets after death. Those who have underage children can designate a guardian to care for the children if both parents die. Other necessary documents include a health care proxy, by which a trusted individual can be appointed to make health care decisions for the person executing the proxy should he or she become incapacitated subsequently.

When engaging in estate planning in Texas, it makes sense to leave the original documents with an attorney and then keep copies of these documents at home. Also, the executor of a will should ideally know where the will is stored so as to be able to access it when needed. Proper legal guidance may help people to successfully create estate plans that protect their and their loved ones' best interests.

Source: CBS Boston, "Spring Cleaning: Estate Planning", Dee Lee, March 25, 2016

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