Doing a little research into the estate planning process before you start is a smart move. In doing so, you will find that there is no one size fits all approach. Estate planning is about understanding the laws surrounding transferring assets to family and loved ones and implementing a strategy to achieve your goals.
Before you jump right into the process, you may want to gain information on why having a plan is useful and what steps you can take to create the plan that is right for you and your family.
Why is your plan important?
Each person’s life circumstances are different. Because estate planning takes each person’s circumstances into account, the details of your estate plan are likely to differ from that of your friends and neighbors. Still, some common reasons for having an estate plan include:
- Minimizing estate taxes: If you believe that your estate will be subject to taxation, you can put your assets into a trust or use other methods as part of your estate plan.
- Distribute your assets: Your estate plan can detail how you want your assets distributed after your passing. If you do not create a plan, Texas state laws will determine who inherits your assets. The statutory framework for inheritance can be difficult to administer, especially in blended families.
- Appointing guardians: If you have minor children, you will undoubtedly want a trustworthy individual to care for them if you and the other parent cannot. Naming a guardian in your will can help ensure that happens.
- Accounting for your pet’s care: If you have a pet, you do not want to leave its care up to chance either. You could set up a pet trust as part of your estate plan to leave funds for the future care of your pet by another person.
- Ownership of Property Outside of Texas: If you own property in a different state you will want to institute estate planning to provide a smooth transition for those assets at your death. Otherwise, you will subject your loved ones to a cumbersome probate process in two or more states at your death.
Of course, you may have other and more personal reasons for creating your estate plan. Because so many planning options are available, you can create a comprehensive plan that covers all of your wishes. To ensure that you have the right tools and understand how to make your wishes known, you may want to work with an estate planning attorney.