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The importance of wills in estate planning in Texas

When it comes to estate planning, there are nearly as many options as there are people in Texas. Nevertheless, there is one document that is included in every estate plan -- the will. Wills provide the foundation for an estate plan. This is the document that will govern what happens to an individual's assets, liabilities and even minor children upon death.

There are many instructions that are included in a will in order to ensure that a person's last wishes are carried out after his or her death. Decisions that are included in a will are who will be responsible for (i) carrying out the individual's wishes or executor and (ii) who will take care of minor children, if any, also called a guardian. After that, an individual can designate which particular assets go to whom.

These are just some of the decisions that will make up a will. Once there is a will, other documents can be added to it, such as trusts that complement the will. Without a will, property will be passed in accordance with the Texas intestate laws. That means that the state will determine where a person's property goes after death without regard to what the wishes of the individual may have been during life.

Many people don't want to have to think about what will happen when they or a loved one dies. However, without having made these decisions and put them into writing, no one will know how you desired your estate to be handled. Wills can give everyone peace of mind, not just the person making the will. Family members can have some peace knowing how things will unfold when another family member passes away.

Source: Fox Business, "The Basics of Estate Planning," Constance Fontaine, June 19, 2013

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