Will. Estate plan. Death.
These words often make us shudder.
But Texans are tough, and it's time to get over those fears and write down what you wish to have happen to your assets upon your death. You will be happy you did.
You need a will so that when you die, there is no guessing game – and no ensuing court action or family disputes -- as to who will inherit your property. More importantly, you will want to declare who you'd like to raise your children in the event of your death.
Start your preparations by creating a list of your property holdings, investments, retirement accounts, insurance policies and personal property with value – either financial or sentimental. Then, consider the following:
- Who do you want to inherit the property and things you leave behind?
- Who should become the guardians of your kids?
- Who will be your executor?
- Who should have financial power of attorney if you can't make decisions on your own? And who should make medical decisions?
Once you have all that sketched out, it's time to put together your legally binding estate plan. While this is something you can attempt on your own, involving a Texas attorney can reassure you that everything has been done legally. You don't want to leave anything to chance, especially the guardianship of your minor children.
From this point, you will:
- Create your will.
- Name your executor to distribute your personal effects, file your final tax returns and pay your outstanding bills.
- Name your power of attorney to handle your financial needs.
- Make a living will, which also is called an advance medical directive. This will spell out the kind of life-saving medical intervention you'd like to have if you are seriously ill and can't express your own wishes. Name a health care power of attorney, too, who can discuss your condition with doctors and make decisions.
- Consider creating a trust. Your attorney can explain that to you so that you'll be informed with all the facts you'll need as you decide whether a trust is needed. They aren't only for people with considerable assets.