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The essential elements of estate planning in Texas

When most people in Texas think of planning for the future, they likely think of saving money for a big purchase or a vacation. For others, it involves planning for retirement. Regardless of what future event a person is considering, estate planning could potentially help meet financial goals. The process helps the living preserve and manage their assets. Once a person has passed away, having a solid estate plan controls the distribution of the estate according to his or her wishes.

When most people think of planning their estates, they most likely think of drafting a will. A will is, in fact, one of the most important aspects of an estate plan, dictating how assets will be divided. Without one, an estate will be divided according to state law, potentially in a way that does not match the person's wishes.

Although important, a will isn't the only aspect of estate planning that can ease stresses created by a person's incapacitation or death. A durable power of attorney ensures that there is someone who can make financial decisions if a person becomes unable to do so. A living trust can help heirs avoid probate, which can be a lengthy, costly process that ties up assets until its completion.

Some people are overwhelmed by the many decisions that must be made as part of the estate planning process. Fortunately, there are experienced professionals who can help guide people in Texas through the process. A carefully planned estate can help ensure that a person's goals and objectives are met, reducing some of the stress experienced by loved ones during a time of loss.

Source: Forbes, "5 Documents You Need To Avoid Costly Estate Planning Errors", Peter Lazaroff, Oct. 16, 2016

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