For Texans who have not yet created an estate plan, it might seem like something that can wait. This is especially true for those who consider themselves young and healthy. Still, having an estate plan is not about the individual, but about caring for a family if the unexpected occurs. Estate planning is not just for the wealthy, but much can be learned through examples of people who had significant assets and failed to properly plan for the future with wills, trusts and other aspects of a plan that will suit the person’s needs.

Wealthy entrepreneur’s death shows importance of estate planning

To understand the value of an estate plan, looking at recent deaths and how the lack of one caused challenges can be the inspiration to take that vital step. In the last several years, well-known people have died and failed to have a clear estate plan. Aretha Franklin and Prince are two examples. More recently, the former CEO of the online store Zappos, Tony Hsieh, died at age 46. His estate was worth approximately $840 million and no will or other estate plan has been found.

Without a will and considering the assets these individuals had, dying intestate could spark long-term disputes among heirs. Their businesses can also be put into disarray. Even those who had an estate plan could make mistakes that result in legal battles. This is the case with the late musician Tom Petty. He had left his widow as his estate trustee, but there is disagreement as to the level of input his daughters are granted in the plan.

An estate plan can address a person’s wants and needs

The litany of concerns that come up when a person dies intestate are not limited to those who are of significant means. In fact, it can cause more issues if the person had limited assets because those who are left behind might be unsure of what to do and how the properties will be split when a detailed list is absent.

There are many parts of an estate plan to consider and these go beyond wills and trusts. A power of attorney might be needed, a medical power of attorney can let a trusted person make decisions in the person’s stead, a living will says what medical treatments will be allowed, a guardian could be named, and more. For advice and help with estate planning, legal assistance is crucial. Calling for a consultation can provide guidance and help from the start to have an effective document and prepare for the future.