People in Texas may want to take steps to create an estate plan to ensure their family members are taken care of and their assets go to the people intended. Knowing where to begin can be daunting. There is a lot of information available about estate planning. Someone researching will find there are a few popular estate planning tools.

A few ways to get started

An ideal first step is to collect all important financial documents. People should also make a list of their assets and what they are worth. This should include such items as insurance policies.

The next step is looking at goals. For example, there may be minor children who need care, or people might want to appoint someone to take care of their health care and financial needs if they become incapacitated. The latter might require powers of attorney. People should also review beneficiary designations for insurance policies, retirement accounts and any other assets that are passed this way and ensure that they are consistent with the rest of the estate plan.

Some people may consider a trust. An irrevocable trust, which generally cannot be changed, is more powerful than a revocable trust. Choosing the right trust and preparing it correctly along with the rest of the estate plan can be a challenge, and people may want to work with an attorney to do so. Estate plans should then be reviewed regularly because a person’s family or assets may change, or there may be a change in tax laws.

An attorney may help an individual think through the process of appointing people for certain roles in the estate plan. For example, a trustee may need to have a high level of expertise in financial and legal matters. For this reason, some people appoint a professional as a trustee or a co-trustee alongside a trusted family member. Conversely, an executor administers the decedent’s will and should be organized but does not have to be an expert and can hire professional help that is paid for by the estate.

Learning what’s best for you

There is a lot for a person to consider when building their estate plan. However, these plans should be tailored to the individual and their goals. What works for one person may not work for another. Understanding all the estate planning tools but a good advisor can help simplify the process and make recommendations based on their case.