Did you know the state of Texas puts a will in place upon a resident’s death if there is no other estate documentation on file? The state will may not match your desires when it comes to dividing assets or passing property on to heirs. Estate planning is the best way to ensure your wishes are followed and is important even if you aren’t considered wealthy.
Many people avoid creating wills, trusts or other estate documents because they don’t feel they have a great deal to pass on to others. In reality, everyone has something to pass on, and estate planning can cover items and assets such as tangible personal property, bank accounts, Social Security benefits and pension payments. From family heirlooms to mineral rights, it’s important to draft estate planning documents that clearly define your wishes for disbursement.
Some individuals consider a basic will to be all the estate planning they require. Experts say there are some important questions involved in the estate planning process that may lead you to create more than a simple will. For example, individuals with young children should consider who would take care of kids if one or both parents died suddenly.
Other questions to consider are about your own health and capability. It’s common to consider power of attorney and other options for later in life, but what if you’re involved in a car accident that leaves you unable to care for yourself and your finances? Estate planning ensures a trusted person is in line to handle your affairs.
Some individuals create estate documents to avoid complications and probate. A clear, legally solid document reduces the risk of contests and the expenses associated with disputes or probate court. Understanding the legal needs for each document help you establish the strongest chance your wishes will be followed.
Source:The Dallas Morning News, “Everyone needs an estate plan, regardless of wealth” Pamela Yip, May. 02, 2014