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Why would a young adult prepare a will?

Wills are for older adults, right? Wrong. They are actually for anyone of legal age. But, why would any young adult in Texas or elsewhere want to take time to prepare a will?

When one is young and has more debts than assets, one may not feel that having a will is necessary or one may simply not want to think about his or her own mortality. At the end of the day, though, no one can escape death. It happens to everyone, and no one knows when it will come. It is a sad reality that many young adults lose their lives in accidents and to illness. When they do, without a will in place, who will decide what to do with their estates?

Don't start the probate administration process empty handed

Making sure that an estate is properly closed out is a burden placed on the assigned executor. It may not seem like a difficult task at first, but things can get overwhelming pretty fast. One way to make probate administration go over smoothly is to go in prepared. This means having all the necessary documentation in hand and ready to go for when the case is opened in a Texas probate court.

Taking inventory is simply an important part of an executor's job. Why? It helps him or her prepare for any issues that might arise during the administration process and ensures that all assets are on the table for distribution to beneficiaries. Without taking inventory of an estate, beneficiaries may end up receiving less than intended, and the executor can be held financially liable if that happens.

Appointing guardianship of one's minor children

Preparing for one's own death or possible incapacitation can be a challenging thing. However, for parents in Texas who have minor children to consider, it is something that really should not be overlooked. After all, wouldn't one rather have a say about who will care for one's children in the event that he or she cannot? As part of the estate planning process, guardianship of one's minor children can be specified, ensuring that the kids are cared for by the person best suited for the task.

What is a guardian? Who can be a guardian and how does a guardianship end? These are all great questions that some might have that need to be answered before they can make such a significant decision.

Even if one has no children, a will is good to have

Texas residents who have worked hard throughout their lives and built up their assets may not know what to do with them in the event of their deaths if they do not have children. As many people forgo having children as a personal choice or simply lack the chance to have kids, this is a problem that plagues quite a few individuals. The truth is, though, even if one does not have children or other family to whom one wishes to pass on his or her estate, a will is still a good thing to have.

What happens to one's estate if a will or other estate planning documents have not been prepared? This is called dying intestate. In such cases, a probate judge will get to decide what happens to one's estate. Not really an ideal situation, though it happens quite a bit, approximately 64 percent of Americans lack any sort of estate plan.

Medicaid planning a must in order to protect one's assets

Long-term care planning is something that many people in Texas and elsewhere fail to complete. At the end of the day, this only hurts them and their loved ones in the long run. Why? Long-term care is ridiculously expensive, and many people will require Medicaid in order to pay for it. However, without proper Medicaid planning, one may not qualify, and one's assets may be put in jeopardy.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that a 65-year-old person has nearly a 70 percent chance of needing the services of a long-term care provider. Approximately 35 percent of older adults will require care in a skilled nursing facility. The cost of such care is difficult for most people to afford, and a large part of the population does not have insurance that covers long-term care.

There is more to creating a trust than just the writing it

Texas residents who want to write trusts can seek assistance from an estate planning attorney in order to get the document completed. Is that where it ends, though? Does just putting everything down on paper really get the job done? No, there is more to creating a trust than just the writing of it.

There are many benefits to trusts. They can offer tax and legal protections not offered in other estate planning documents. However, if one does not fund a trust, the trust document is pretty much worthless.

When taking time to prepare a will, make sure it is valid

Having a will in place is something that one can do to make sure that his or her assets and loved ones are protected in the event of his or her death. Taking the time to prepare a will means a little more than just jotting something down on paper really quick and signing one's name to it. This is not to say that a will has to be a long-winded document; it can be brief if that is what one wants. It does, however, need to meet certain requirements in order for it to be valid in the state of Texas.

How a will is executed is going to matter when it comes time to administration of one's estate. If there are questions about a will's validity, it could hold up the process and extend the amount of time one's surviving family members have to work toward closing the estate. No one really wants to go through that if it can be avoided.

Texas estate planning: When a trustee can't be trusted

When planning one's estate, if a trust is created, one will have to name one or more people to manage the trust. The trustee named when going through the estate planning process will be responsible for making sure the trust is tended to and administered appropriately and in accordance with Texas laws when the time comes. What can one do, though, when a trustee cannot be trusted?

A trustee is supposed to administer an estate according to the terms put forth in the trust instrument. Depending on the language of the document, certain decisions will be up to the trustee's discretion. However, this does not give him or her free reign to do whatever he or she wants. There are limits to his or her power.

Set up a special needs trust to protect your child's benefits

Parents in Texas who have special needs children have unique concerns when it comes to passing their assets on after their deaths. For instance, a disabled person can have his or her government benefits revoked if he or she experiences increased cash flow or receives assets from a parent's estate. It may seem wrong, but it is how things work. A special needs trust can keep this from happening.

In order to allow one's child the ability to maintain his or her disability benefits, there are several important estate planning steps one can take. Setting up a special needs trust is just one of them, but it may be the most important. By placing assets in this type of trust, they will not be passed directly onto one's child. Instead, a trustee will be assigned to manage one's estate. This person will be able to distribute the assets in a way that will not affect the child's benefit eligibility.

Take the time to prepare a will

Quite a few people in Texas and elsewhere do not have estate plans in place. Each has his or her own reason as to why not. However, taking the time to prepare a will is not something that one should put off for too long.

A study was recently conducted by BMO Wealth Management regarding estate planning. According to the results, 52 percent of those surveyed do not have estate plans. Now, the number of people surveyed was not released, but still, 52 percent is pretty significant. That is a lot of people who have not taken the steps necessary to protect themselves, their assets, their children and other loved ones in the event of their death or incapacitation.

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