If there is anything that the recent months of unprecedented health concerns have taught, it may be that life is very fragile and uncertain. Yet many still put off creating an estate plan that could provide a future of security and stability for their loved ones.
Estate planning can seem overwhelming, and that is one of the many reasons why people in Texas avoid this important task. However, by taking the process one step at a time, you may be able to create a legacy that offers peace of mind to both you and your loved ones.
One step at a time
The basics of estate planning involve deciding how to distribute your assets after your death. There are other issues at stake, but beginning with this foundational concept, you can gain momentum to complete the rest. You might find it helpful to tackle each step individually, including:
- Make a list of your tangible valuables, such as your property, vehicles, collections and other items, and obtain appraisals of their worth.
- Inventory your intangible assets, such as investments, retirement accounts and business interests, and collect statements from each.
- Decide whom should receive which assets and how your executor should divide your estate.
- Review the beneficiaries of your insurance policies.
- Calculate what your family will need when you cannot provide for them and determine how much life insurance will meet those needs.
- Choose a trusted individual to be the guardian of your children if you should die while they are still young.
- Outline your ideal goals for the upbringing and education of your kids.
- Choose trusted individuals, called power of attorney agents, to handle your financial and medical affairs if you become incapacitated.
- Create a medical care directive that outlines your wishes for medical treatment to assist your power of attorney.
- Obtain sound advice about the most appropriate estate planning tools for your situation.
Will you need a trust that will bypass probate and allow your loved ones access to those assets more quickly? Perhaps you have a child with disabilities who would benefit from a special needs trust. Maybe your estate is simple enough that a will is sufficient to meet your needs. No matter your situation, you will certainly want to make sure your estate plan is complete and complies with Texas laws to avoid leaving your loved ones with confusion or anxiety.