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Texas probate: Even people under 40 need estate planning

Many people under the age of 40 don't think they need to have an estate plan. Having said that, there are thousands of people under the age of 40 that die in Texas each year -- some from natural causes and some from accidents. Without an estate plan, the state laws regarding probate will govern how that person's estate is administered.

Anyone that has a family, no matter what age, can benefit from having at least a basic estate plan. This is especially true for people who have children that are dependent on them. Having a will, life insurance, a power of attorney and a living will are said to be the basic necessities.

For a young person, a life insurance policy can replace a retirement plan that hasn't yet been accumulated. A will can outline his or her wishes not only for what will happen to assets, but to children as well. A testamentary trust can provide for those children.

If a person becomes incapacitated, financial and healthcare powers of attorney will allow a trusted representative to handle any and all financial or healthcare decisions outlined in the document. These documents can be as specific as desired. A healthcare power of attorney is usually only overridden by a living will that outlines the types of life sustaining measures a person wants when that person is unable to make the decisions him or herself.

Without these basic documents, a young family can be thrown into chaos. Everyone will have an opinion about how assets should be distributed and children should be cared for, including the state of Texas. Having an estate plan can make probate an easier process for any young family.

Source: US News and World Report, Estate Planning Tips for People Under 40, Sienna Kossman, Sept. 19, 2013

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