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What assets should you include in your estate plan?

Like many Texas residents, you may have decided to make some New Year's resolutions. With the new year under way, you may already feel like the changes you wanted to make in your life may not happen as quickly as you had hoped. Certainly, it can take time to achieve goals, but as long as you do not give up, you will likely have the chance of at least keeping some of your resolutions in check.

If one of your goals for the year is to create an estate plan, you have already made a major stride in making that idea become a reality. Choosing to create a plan is not always easy, and having the idea on your mind is important. One next step to reaching this goal includes determining the assets you want your plan to address.

Creating an inventory

While an estate plan can have many different purposes and goals, many people consider asset distribution and protection an important purpose of their plans. If you also want to use your plan for this goal, you may want to inventory your assets. Knowing what you want and need to include in your plan could help you as you get your planning underway. Some assets to consider addressing include the following:

  • Personal items, such as books, jewelry or furniture
  • Vehicles
  • Intellectual property
  • Real estate
  • Life insurance policies
  • Investments
  • Business assets or your interest in a company

Of course, depending on the size and nature of your estate, you may have additional or fewer assets to consider than someone else. However, you should remember that estate planning is a personal experience, and your plan will not be the same as anyone else's.

Considering ownership

After you create your asset inventory, you may also want to consider the ownership of those assets. Some assets, such as life insurance policies or retirement accounts, allow you to directly name beneficiaries. You may also jointly own some of your property, such as real estate or your business, and it is important to understand how your partial ownership will affect property distribution.

Addressing your assets in a plan

You could use various estate planning tools, such as a will or trust,  to ensure that your property is distributed or protected in the manner you see fit. Of course, if you have not yet gained much information on how to establish and enact your plans, you may not know much about those tools. Fortunately, you can work with an experienced estate planning attorney who could explain your available options and help you achieve your desired planning goals.

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