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The value of a will, estate planning in Texas

Families in Texas and across the country are complex. Many include loved ones who are not biologically related, while others may not have a strong relationship with those who are considered kin. As a result, having a will in place can ensure that a person's wishes are met following his or her death rather than having the state make decisions regarding guardianship of children or distribution of assets based on biological ties.

A will serves a variety of functions. In addition to detailing how a person's assets will be divided, it also details guardianship. In some situations, parents prefer to leave their children in the care of a close friend as opposed to a family member. However, without a will in place, the parent's wishes may be unknown or ignored.

A will does more than naming a guardian for a child. Many people use such a document to detail a plan for paying off their debts. It can also detail their wishes regarding asset distribution, including providing for stepchildren, for example, who the state may overlook if no will is in place. Additionally, people can ensure that a pet receives proper care as well as naming an executor.

While some people may be tempted to use online sources or software to create their own will, there are pitfalls associated with such action. A mistake could invalidate the will, prompting the state to declare the deceased intestate, or without a will. Having an experienced professional guide the process can help those in Texas avoid such mistakes and ensure that they have considered all necessary elements of the estate planning process.

Source: nerdwallet.com, "Protect Your Family by Writing a Will", Elizabeth Renter, Sept. 19, 2016

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