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Common concerns for estate planning

Creating an estate plan is an important facet of life, but many people fail to make one. Some people may mistakenly believe that if they are not rich or only have one child that it is unnecessary, but estate planning is important for people and families of all varieties. Experts say they want to clear up common misconceptions around estate plans, and the information they have to offer may be invaluable for Texas families.

People with children are generally concerned with what would happen to their kids in the event that they pass away. An estate plan can designate a guardian for minor children as well as a conservator to handle any finances. Those could be the same person or two different people. As for adult children, some parents worry that there will be disagreements on how assets should be divided. An estate plan can help a person keep matters private rather than going through probate, which can take time, money and be public.

There is often a fear of what will happen to a person who doesn't die, but who becomes incapacitated for some reason and unable to make his or her own choices. An estate plan can outline provisions for that scenario as well, with a durable power of attorney for a person's finances and medical power of attorney to make a person's health care choices. As with guardians and conservators, those two can be the same or different people.

Many people want to leave money to charity, but they're concerned about how their family will react. Experts say that creating a charitable lead trust can fund chosen charities for a designated time and that what's left over can be given to family. A charitable remainder trust does the opposite -- gives money to family first and then the charity.

In any case, experts stress that estate planning is not something to overlook for anyone. Those here in Texas who have questions may want to consult an attorney. An attorney with extensive experience in creating estate plans can put many of a person's concerns to rest.

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