Planning for the future requires one to consider his or her long-term interests, potential future medical needs and what should happen to personal assets after passing away. These can be difficult and potentially complex issues, and you will benefit from carefully considering what plans you need in order to have security and control over your affairs. Estate planning involves much more than just having a will, and having a complete plan is beneficial for Texas adults of all ages and income levels.
The specific documents you need in order to have a complete estate plan depend on your individual goals, the size of your estate, objectives for your beneficiaries and much more. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to estate planning, and you can create a plan that is meaningful and effective for years to come. A complete plan will protect your interests now, in case of a contingency and after you pass away.
The steps to a complete estate plan
As you consider what you should include in your estate plan, it will be beneficial to consider your own objectives and what will make the most sense for your heirs and beneficiaries in the future. The following is a basic checklist of what you may want to include in your estate plan:
- Will: A will is a document that outlines one’s preferences for what happens to personal property after he or she passes.
- Trust: A trust is an estate planning vehicle used to address a multitude of family specific concerns, including, but not limited to: disabled family members, underage beneficiaries, blended family circumstances, estate tax planning, business management planning, and more.
- Health care or financial power of attorney: This is a document that allows a person to act on your behalf, making legal, medical or financial decisions in case of your incapacitation.
- Directive to Physicians: This is a document you can complete that directs your preferences regarding end of life circumstances.
- Guardianship and beneficiary designations: It is critical to have updated beneficiary designations on all accounts, as well as documents that designate guardianship of minor children.
Regardless of your age, income level, health status and other factors, you will benefit from the protections provided to you by a complete estate plan. If you are unsure of where to start with the planning process or what additions you may need for a complete plan, it may help to seek a professional assessment of your estate and goals in order to create a strategy that will allow you to look to the future with confidence.