Basic estate planning steps everyone should take

On Behalf of | Oct 29, 2021 | Estate Planning |

Most Texas adults have some family members and some assets that are important to them. However, many people avoid the topic of estate planning because they don’t think it applies to them. Even if your financial portfolio is modest or uncomplicated, you should still do some basic estate planning.

Write your will

Not writing a will is one of the worst, and most common, estate planning mistakes. When a person dies without a will, their assets are distributed through probate court based on intestacy laws. Every family is unique, and the general rules of probate court may not be best for your beneficiaries. It’s usually better to have any will rather than no will at all.

Create powers of attorney

One misconception about the estate planning process is that it only concerns what happens to a person’s assets after death. In fact, a large part of your estate plan can be devoted to your wishes while you are still alive. An estate plan may include instructions for family members and caregivers in the event that you cannot care for yourself or make important decisions.

You can create what’s known as a living will, or a medical directive, that leaves instructions about your desired medical treatment in certain circumstances. You may also designate one or more individuals to serve as agents pursuant to medical and financial powers of attorney. These trusted individuals would be responsible for making sure your wishes are respected should you be unable to communicate them.

Consider setting up a trust

Though not every estate plan requires a trust, these types of documents can be very valuable for a lot of people. When you leave your assets to a trust, your beneficiaries will be allowed to skip the public probate process and receive their distributions privately. Trusts may also allow you to set up recurring payments for beneficiaries.