While it is true that Texas residents may complete the estate planning process for their relatives, it is also true that they are getting something out of it as well. Indeed, knowing that an estate plan is going to help loved ones avoid estate taxes and knowing that one's estate will be distributed the way one wants can provide peace of mind. What, then, are the vital elements of great estate planning?
First and foremost, with regard to wills, an estate plan must identify who will manage the estate planner's affairs in the event of incapacitation. In this respect, the estate plan must also define what "incapacity" means, so that it is clear what kind of circumstances will invoke the need for an agent to step in on the estate planner's behalf. The estate planner may also wish to plan ahead for the financial demands that long-term care will place on the estate. Also, for estate planners with young children, it is vital that their plan identifies a guardian to care for children when they are incapacitated or gone.
When it comes to trusts, a well-organized estate that uses a trust can help one's heirs avoid the need to go through probate proceedings. A trust can also help provide for children and grandchildren in a way that takes into account how old they are. Inheritances can be distributed to children and grandchildren over time or at key points in their lives. Finally, a trust can provide for special needs children -- a topic that is usually first on the minds of any parent who has a child with a disability.
There are a lot of other things that estate planning can achieve for a family. Depending on one's financial situation and life circumstances, some of those benefits may or may not be necessary. By speaking with an estate planning attorney, Texas residents can determine what other planning options are available and what they need to ensure that their wishes are carried out to the letter when they are gone.
Source: forbes.com, "11 Fundamental Elements of a Stress-Free Estate Plan", Mark Eghrari, Dec. 9, 2014