After you die, if you haven’t made an estate plan or if your plan is outdated, there’s no way to change your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets. The court will let the carelessly made plans stand or dismiss them and use Texas intestacy laws to give out your assets, or conflict may brew among your family members, with some filing to contest your documents. Fortunately, you can avoid all these through proper planning.
Not preparing a will
A will is the most basic and important estate planning and probate document, yet so many Texans fail to create one or keep it up to date. Avoid this mistake by drafting a legally binding will that states your wishes regarding the distribution of assets and names an executor to carry out the instructions.
Not naming a guardian
If you have minor children, it’s important to name a guardian in your will who is legally responsible for their care if something happens to both parents. If there are no guardians named or their wishes are not legally binding, the court will decide who has custody of your children.
Not setting up a trust
If you have substantial assets or want to maintain control over how your loved ones get them, setting up a trust can help keep your funds protected and secure. A trust is also beneficial when you have a special needs child that you want to support financially while not jeopardizing their government benefits.
Not making a financial power of attorney (FPOA)
FPOA allows you to appoint someone to manage your finances if you become incapacitated and are unable to do so yourself. Without this document, the court will have to appoint a guardian, and there’s always the potential that they may not have your best interests in mind.
It’s never too early or too late to start estate planning, and you don’t have to be wealthy to consider it. An estate plan serves as a roadmap for your future and that of your loved ones.