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Common misconceptions about estate planning

It is unlikely that most Texas residents have given much thought to how family members and loved ones will be affected after their death. However, it is a subject that needs to be addressed to ensure that someone's assets and property are distributed exactly as desired. While many may believe that estate planning is only needed for the wealthy, it can be a valuable process to help avoid family conflicts. Financial experts hope to convey the need for comprehensive estate plans by shattering some commonly held misconceptions.

The size of someone's estate is not the only determining factor when deciding to develop a plan. Appropriate documentation is necessary to ensure that assets go to the designated beneficiaries or that a business stays within a family. While the benefits of an estate plan mainly involve financial considerations, there are other benefits as well. Some plans may specify guardianship for children or provide protection for special collections. Another benefit is the privacy offered by having a trust.

There may also be questions as to whether a will or a trust is the best tool for a particular individual. While wills can designate how assets will be distributed, they must go through the probate process and will be become public record. On the other hand, trusts remain private and any assets are passed directly to a trustee.

Most associate estate planning with older people. However, estate plans are important for spouses, parents, homeowners and business owners, no matter how old they are. There can also be questions regarding how the debts of the deceased are handled. Fortunately, any debt can be settled by the estate and not extend to the family members.

The consensus of financial experts is that estate planning is vital for most people, regardless of their income level or age. A Texas estate administration attorney can help evaluate the many options available and develop plans unique to someone's needs. An experienced lawyer can give clients peace of mind that their wishes will be carried out expressly as desired after their passing.

Source: wealthmanagement.com, "Five Myths to Overcome with New Estate-Planning Clients", Patrick Carlson, July 12, 2017

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