Texans may know what a will is, but not everyone is familiar with the concept of estate planning. Estate planning also includes trust funds to help someone pass on assets to an heir without requiring them to go through probate court first, which can be costly and time-consuming.

Estate planning is not as expensive as some may think, and it is a good idea to involve a professional when drawing up an estate plan. Estate planning attorneys often work together with accountants, who can collectively help people determine their best options depending on how they want their assets or their beneficiaries’ assets to be taxed.

Preparing for your initial estate planning meeting

Before speaking with an estate planning attorney, people should compile a list of all of their belongings, including real estate, business ownership interests, vehicles, retirement and other investment accounts, other bank accounts, and other valuable or sentimental items of property. Larger items of property, such as a family home, are better to include in a trust than a will. There is no one correct type of trust for everyone, so it is important for individuals to discuss their tax and other goals with a professional.

Individuals should also spend some time thinking about who they want to give power to when it comes time to distribute the belongings in their trust or will. If parents have minor children, they should name a guardian to care for them and to manage their finances in the event the parents pass away before the children turn 18 years old.

Your plan should be unique to you

Another consideration is whether to appoint a power of attorney if someone becomes incapacitated during his or her lifetime. Determining who will oversee distributing assets or making serious life decisions may involve several conversations with family members and loved ones. A Texas-licensed estate planning attorney can help draw up the documents and get everything for the estate plan in order.