If you are among the many adults in Texas who have not created an estate plan, you are not alone. In fact, most people die intestate, that is, without a will, leaving their loved ones to make assumptions about their assets and funeral arrangements. Even more upsetting are those situations where someone becomes critically ill but has left no instructions for medical care or last wishes.
The first step to making any important decision, including those decisions necessary for a complete estate plan, is to gain as much information as possible about your options. With estate planning, obtaining the facts you need begins with clarifying some of the misunderstandings you may hold about the process.
What is holding you back?
What are your excuses for not making a plan? Are you too young? Do you think you don’t have enough assets to warrant a will? Has someone told you that it’s better to wait because once your plan is in place you are stuck with it? These are just a few myths that keep people from putting careful consideration into their estate plans. Some of the benefits of an estate plan that can protect you and your loved ones throughout your life include the following:
- Naming someone as guardian for your children
- Naming someone as executor of your estate
- Leaving assets to people other than those the law provides for, such as nieces, nephews and close friends
- Minimizing estate tax burdens for your loved ones
- Bypassing probate with assets you fund to a trust
- Outlining your wishes for medical care, including your end-of-life wishes, if you should become incapacitated
- Designating a power of attorney to handle your legal and financial matters if you become ill or infirm
- Naming a charity to receive a bequest from your estate
- Preparing for the possibility that you will need to pay for long-term care
Your estate plan can grow and change as your circumstances change. Different tools can benefit you when your family is young, and others can offer security for you in your later years. The best way to learn what options are most appropriate for you in your current stage of life is to speak to someone who has considerable knowledge and experience in preparing and revising estate plans that conform with Texas laws. Doing so can offer you peace of mind and security for your loved ones.