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Important points to remember about handling estate planning

Texans might be reluctant to think about estate planning due to the realization that it pertains to his or her death. However, it is imperative to put that negative feeling aside and consider the positives of doing so. Failing to move forward with drafting estate planning documents can cause family disputes and long-term problems after death. Remembering to take certain steps can remove the pain and fear from the process and be beneficial in the long and short run.

First, it is wise to gather all the information of assets and liabilities. This includes calculating the net worth and what is in the whole estate. There could be life insurance policies, assets, the validity of a will, a family business with rules of succession and more. The beneficiaries must be decided upon. This can be difficult, but it is necessary and unavoidable. For example, if there are children of varying ages, it might be useful to take the oldest or most mature and responsible child and place that person in charge of certain aspects of the estate or a family business. Updating these documents regularly based on the circumstances is key.

Every estate plan must be managed. There could be a family member whom the testator wants to be the executor. Or there could be a professional person with no connection to the situation placed in the position as executor. The assets and desires of the testator will be determinative factors in how this is handled. Another issue is the possibility that the person will become incapacitated and need a power of attorney. Having an understanding of the various options can provide information as to which estate planning strategy is the wisest one to use. For example, some might want a revocable trust instead of a will.

Finally, drafting estate planning documents and understanding estate tax planning should be left to the professionals. Even those who are limited in their assets and have a relatively simple estate will benefit from legal advice. With any situation related to estate planning, discussing the matter with an attorney can avoid long-term pain for the person taking out the document and the heirs.

Source: investors.com, "5 Must-Do Tips For Your Will and Estate Planning," Lawrence Carrel, Feb. 24, 2017

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