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An estate plan lets people choose their own heirs

When we leave this earth, we leave things behind. Even if a Texas resident does not have children, they still have assets that need to be distributed among beneficiaries and if directions are not provided, the state will make the decision for the decedent. This means that emotionally close relatives may be neglected in favor of biologically close relatives and beloved pets may end up in shelters. To avoid this, engaging in estate planning, regardless of one's life situation, is essential.

Even though one can outline their wishes in a will, relatives become aware of the proceedings in the probate process. and they can intercede in it, to find out more about the decedent's assets. Private individuals who wish to pass on their inheritance in a private and protected way can create a trust and ensure it goes to who they want, not to someone who would be the closest biological relative. In addition to this, it might also be possible to create a formal pet trust; one that would provide for the pet after the decedent is unable to do themselves.

Choosing the person to be in charge of the trust is an important decision. While many people decide to appoint a trusted family member, this does not have to be the case. One can choose a professional to undertake the responsibility of ensuring one's assets are distributed as wished and are not being abused. The trustee should be someone trustworthy, responsible, organized and responsive, so the decision should not be taken lightly.

An estate plan is not only a will and testament. There are many more aspects that should be kept in mind as well, such as planning for incapacitation and the inability to make important decisions for oneself. Estate planning is not only for people who have children. Assets can be left to nieces, nephews, pets and charities. An experienced attorney can discuss various options with Texas residents.

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