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Estate planning involves identifying some key individuals

Some people in Texas think they do not need estate plans until they have accumulated more wealth. Others believe that estate plans are unnecessary until they have had children. In reality, people in Texas can benefit from estate planning at all stages of life and at all income levels.

An important part of creating an estate plan is choosing individuals whom a person trusts to make sure that his or her wishes are carried out after he or she has died. One of these individuals is the executor. This person gathers all of the deceased person's assets and ensures that they are distributed according to how the deceased spelled this out in his or her will. The executor needs to be comfortable with numbers and detail oriented. Either family members or professionals, such as bank trust officers, can be executors.

A durable power of attorney is another important individual to identify. This person should be trustworthy enough to make monetary decisions on another individual's behalf if that other individual were to become disabled. It is important to choose a person who understands this other individual's general wishes when it comes to his or her financial affairs.

Choosing a guardian is another important part of estate planning for a person who has minor children. The guardian will look after the children if the parents end up dying while the children are still minors. This person ideally should share in the parents' views on parenting and be open to rearing the children if necessary. Proper legal guidance can help people to identify these key individuals and then put together estate plans that acknowledge these individuals' roles in the state of Texas.

Source: morningstar.com, "Get Your Estate Plan in Gear", Christine Benz, Sept. 23, 2016

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