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Wills, trusts and other aspects of an estate plan are essential

Coming to grips with one's mortality is never easy, but Texans of all walks of life must do so and plan for the future. It is an unavoidable reality that the day will come when a person will no longer be there. That is when planning will come to the forefront. Having organized wills, trusts and other aspects of an estate plan is imperative. Knowing what is important is step one in cobbling together a solid plan.

It might come as a shock to learn that nearly two-thirds of American adults fail to craft a will. There could be a variety of reasons for this, but it is essential that more people understand the value of this document. In a will, it is written who will inherit money, property and other items. If parents have minor children, the will can say who will be the guardian in the event they die before the child reaches adulthood. If there is no will, the assets might go to probate court. This can cause major issues to the family left behind. A trust is also beneficial. This transfers the assets to the person's beneficiaries. With a living trust, it is activated immediately. A will only goes into effect after the person has died.

Many people are concerned about end of life options. For example, some do not want to be kept on life-support if they are ill or incapacitated. Others do not want to be removed from life-support. Having a health care order and a power of attorney for another to make the decisions is key to this being organized when the time comes. There should be listings of bank accounts, asset portfolios, life insurance and anything else that might be important to the beneficiaries. Finally, a funeral will be necessary and some people prefer to plan it beforehand so the family does not have to deal with it after the death.

These are just some of the factors that are shunted aside as a person tries to live his or her life and, to be blunt, does not want to think about the inevitable when they will no longer be here. But an estate plan is nothing more than a preparatory document to care for loved ones after death. Discussing the circumstances with a legal professional experienced in estate planning can get all the ducks in a row so everything is prepared for the future.

Source: Nasdaq.com, "A Will Can Be a Beautiful Thing," Marguerita M. Cheng, April 10, 2017

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