In Texas, people begin to plan their estate for many different reasons. Additionally, estate planning documents look different for each person because of the wide range of available options for people in our state. These options typically include wills, trusts, healthcare directives and powers of attorney.
The first estate planning tool that many people consider in Texas is a will. This document can direct how to distribute assets when a person dies. In addition, specific bequests can be made to individuals or organizations.
When an estate is more complicated, people often turn to the use of trusts. Trusts can be customized to fit each estate's needs. Among the benefits of a trust is that it does not go through the probate process, a court action that can take time and be costly in some instances. Additionally, this type of document can be used to control the distribution of assets to individuals or organizations. For example, a person may receive assets from a trust only when certain time passes or actions occur.
The choices for estate planning in Texas are many. Because the needs of each person is different, it can do well for those starting the process to consider seeking to review all of the options available. A good first step is for people to collect information on all of the assets that they own. Then they must determine which of the estate planning tools best fits their needs as they relate to how they want to distribute their estate. This may require research into the specific state and federal laws revolving around estate planning.
Source: SeacoastOnline.com, Estate planning by default, David T. Mayes, Oct. 6, 2013