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The importance of an effective estate plan in Texas

Regardless of the size of one's estate, an effective estate plan is the only method of ensuring that assets go to the heirs one intends to benefit. Without a will, Texas' intestacy statute controls the distribution of property after a person dies. An effective estate plan can ensure the wishes of the estate planner are fulfilled. There are many parts of an overall effective estate plan to consider.

In addition to a properly executed will, a trust may be an important aspect of a complete estate plan. Trusts can be used to help provide for a college education or the needs of a disabled loved one. In addition, it is helpful to be aware of tax strategies that can minimize the tax burden for those inheriting the estate planner's assets. It is also useful to consider the benefits of life insurance and how it may help offset some of the taxes associated with any inheritance.

There are a variety of professionals who can be involved in helping to develop an effective estate plan, including tax professionals, financial advisors and attorneys. It is essential to be familiar with the legal requirements associated with wills, trusts and estate planning, in order to ensure everything is done properly. It is also important to periodically review an estate plan once it is established and update it following any major life changes.

Estate planning is important for the estate planner and the estate planner's family and can provide peace of mind for both. The estate planning process may seem complicated at first, which is why it is helpful to seek professional guidance.

Source: Forbes.com, "5 Estate Planning Tips," Feb. 23, 2012

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