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Multiple documents are essential parts of estate planning

People in Texas and other states often focus on increasing their financial wellness but neglect one important area: developing an estate plan. The estate planning process is not the same for everybody, as people are in different family and financial situations. However, it is critical for people of all ages, health statuses and wealth levels.

Besides a will, there are a couple of documents that are important to include in an estate plan. One is a letter of instruction. This non-legal document may go with a will to explain a person's directions and personal thoughts. It is different from a will in that it is to remain private. Also, the directions included in it are not considered binding from a legal standpoint.

Another important component of an estate plan is a living trust, or a revocable trust. The main advantage of setting up a trust is that it allows a person's assets to avoid the probate process, which may be time-consuming and expensive. Probate has to be completed before a deceased person's assets are distributed to his or her surviving heirs. A trust also offers the benefit of preventing the public from gaining knowledge about the deceased person's estate.

With estate plans in Texas, people can easily preserve their assets while they are living. Then, they can retain control of how their assets are distributed after their deaths based on their unique goals. Appropriate legal guidance may help people to complete the estate planning process in a way that best fits their and their loved ones' needs.

Source: forbes.com, "5 Documents You Need To Avoid Costly Estate Planning Errors", Peter Lazaroff, Oct. 16, 2016

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