The reasons that people in Texas might avoid the estate planning process are understandable. Fear of death, denial and lack of knowledge about the estate planning process are just a few of these reasons. However, at least one authority notes, there is never a bad time for a person to begin an estate plan or to create a will.
In estate planning, a will is the most basic of tools that can be used. Using this document, an individual can assign beneficiaries for assets, appoint a guardian for minor children and detail their wishes for the distribution of their estate when they die. Without this type of estate planning in place, an estate does not go through the probate process and is subject to the intestacy laws of the state.
After a will is completed, an individual considering creating an estate plan may wish to create a healthcare directive and a power of attorney. These documents can be important if an individual becomes unable to care for themselves while they are still alive. The appointment of the person who will act as Power of Attorney or Executor of an estate is an important decision and should not be made lightly or without consent.
There are many, many tools for an individual who has begun estate planning in our state. In fact, each estate is different, and there are tools that can help anyone achieve their goals for their estate. However, before the goals can be reached, the first step towards planning must be taken. It is recommended that individuals resist the temptation to create their estate plan on their own as do-it-yourself methods may not account for the nuances that vary by state. To ensure that an estate plan is valid and will hold up during the probate process, Texas residents who are so planning may benefit from consulting more experienced guidance.
Source: US News and World Report, "Important Things to Consider When Preparing Your Will," Daniel Bortz, Sept. 26, 2012