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Estate planning is best done with experienced professional help

Estate planning in Texas and elsewhere is always an important legal process that one should take seriously. In that light, it is not something to experiment with by adopting online offerings or selected snippets of information that do not consider the full range of legal and factual issues pertaining to the individual or married couple. Estate planning is a process that is best done in conjunction with an experienced estate planning attorney.

The experience that legal counsel will impart to the process can be invaluable in keeping one from venturing into untried or inadvisable territory. It is important that a person who is engaging in the estate planning process also obtain and implement a complete estate plan. This will involve at the least a selection of living trusts and/or a simple or complex will, depending on the factual circumstances of the individual.

Importantly, the estate planning professional will guide the client(s) through all the potentially relevant legal instruments and options. Through a process of determining the right documents that apply to the client's needs, the attorney assures that the client obtains a complete and relevant estate plan that assures the best outcome. That means an outcome that maximizes the value and utility of one's assets while giving legal authority to one's choices and desires.

In Texas and other jurisdictions, estate planning also looks at how one titles real and personal property, the designation of the right beneficiaries and the appointing of the right representatives to handle living or testamentary trusts and the post-death estate. It is also vitally important to prepare a power of attorney that names the most trusted friend or family member to step in and conduct the person's affairs in the event of incompetence prior to death. There are numerous other considerations, including tax planning in  some cases, that make the process complex and valuable to the individual or married couple who seek planning for the extended future. 

Source: montereyherald.com, "Liza Horvath, Senior Advocate: Estate planning blunders to avoid", Liza Horvath, March 18, 2017

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