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The basics of estate planning

Most people realize that they need to plan for the end of their life, but sometimes it can be difficult to start. Thinking about death isn't particularly pleasant, so it can be very easy to think of estate planning as something to do later in life, when one is older and has accumulated more assets. But avoiding estate planning can have disastrous consequences. For those here in Texas with questions, here are some estate planning basics.

Most estate plans include several different legal documents. Which ones they are depend on each person's financial situation and personal needs. The plan covers what to do with a person's assets when he or she dies, or even while living. It can even outline what a person wants in terms of end-of-life care, in both health and financial aspects.

Generally, most estate plans include a will. This document can outline who the guardians of any minor children will be. It also specifies an executor and gives him or her direction on how the testator's assets should be handled after the person's death.

Other documents included in certain estate plans include a durable power of attorney for financial choices, a medical power of attorney for health care choices, and a living will that outlines end-of-life care. A personal property memorandum can be used to distribute specific assets that aren't outlined in a will. Some wills may also contain a trust, which can be revocable and can be used for the care of the owner while he or she is still living, and then name who inherits the trust proceeds upon the maker's death.

The most important part of any estate plan is having one to begin with. Anyone here in Texas who is unsure of how to get started can talk with an experienced estate law attorney for guidance. A competent legal professional can help ensure that all aspects of estate planning are considered.

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