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Several questions important to ask during estate planning

For some individuals in Texas, the thought of developing an estate plan is emotional and stressful. It brings up fears about discussing subjects that people naturally find uncomfortable, such as disability and death. However, estate planning is a necessary process for protecting one's assets and wishes in the event of death or incapacitation in the future.

A variety of questions are important to ask during the estate planning process, with the answers determining the direction forward. For instance, people must decide whether they want to avoid the probate process at death. It is also wise to figure out whom they would trust to make financial, medical and legal decisions for them if they were to become incapacitated.

Another question to ask is whether they have disabled beneficiaries. People might also want to explore whether they want to safeguard their assets from the costs of nursing homes. Another critical question to address is whether people want to keep their assets in their bloodlines and protect their inheritances from their children's creditors, divorces and lawsuits.

When starting the estate planning process, it is important to create a list of one's assets and the estimated value of each asset. Then, certain assets may be retitled to avoid the probate process, or beneficiaries can be chosen and/or updated as necessary. Appropriate legal guidance may help people in Texas to protect their best interests as well as those of their offspring when addressing assets such as bank accounts, vehicles, investments accounts and real estate in estate plans.

Source: recordonline.com, "Bonnie Kraham: Getting started on an estate plan", Bonnie Kraham, Oct. 5, 2016

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