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Just a will? Estate planning often encompasses far more than that.

Many people in Texas and across the country harbor a number of material misconceptions about estate planning. Following are a couple big ones, tagged as myths.

First, myth number one: It's all about the will.

And myth two: It all relates to what happens after you -- the estate planner -- die.

Regarding wills, yes, they are indeed a central and vitally important component of an estate plan, but, as noted in an online primer on estate planning basics, they are not always the single engine pushing a plan down the track.

Wills go through probate, the process for proving a will and administering an estate.

That process is public, and not every individual and family wants the details of a plan opened up to public scrutiny.

The above-cited planning overview article spotlights trusts, noting that they can be established "to ensure your wishes are free from public scrutiny."

Effective planning also centrally encompasses input from a proven estate administration attorney on matters such as legal tax avoidance and the proper designation of beneficiaries in insurance policies, investment plans and other accounts.

And, importantly, it is often closely linked to matters that are critically important to a planner while still living (see myth two above).

How can a person effectively plan for a time that might come when, while still living, he or she is unable to make financial, health-care and important decisions?

The answer to that question, perhaps telegraphed, is simple and straightforward: through carefully considered and well-drafted estate planning documents, including relevant powers of attorney and a health care directive.

Sound planning is truly comprehensive and can involve a number of legal documents that are well aligned and address in an integrated manner all the factors that are relevant in a given planning situation.

A seasoned estate planning attorney can provide detailed information on the subject.

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