A lot goes into creating an estate plan. Because it can take work, you and many other Texas residents may have put off taking this step for a long time. However, a life event, such as welcoming a child, may have caused you to think more seriously about the importance of having this plan in place.
Due to the amount of work involved, you may have a hard time knowing where to start. If having a child was your catalyst for planning, you certainly know that you want to name a guardian for your child. What else can your planning entail?
Reviewing your assets and debts
Your assets and debts will play an important role in creating a comprehensive plan. You certainly want to make sure that you formally and legally left your wishes for the distribution of your property, but you first need to know what property you have. Creating an inventory of your physical assets, like your home and valuable items, and your non-physical items, like your insurance policies and bank accounts, could help you plan more specifically.
Understanding your debts is important because your estate will remain responsible for paying those debts after your passing. Making a list of creditor accounts, loans you have and credit cards you use may provide a better idea of where your debt comes from and what creditors could make claims later.
Name beneficiaries to TOD accounts
If you have a savings account, retirement fund or another similar account, you may have the option of making that account transferable on death or payable on death. You may name a person to act as the beneficiary of the account, and rather than going through probate, your TOD account would pass directly to that beneficiary.
Consider your will
Your will can hold a lot of important information, and this document is what you will use to name a guardian for your child. You can also use your will to name a person to act as the executor of your estate, which is an important but difficult task to handle. It may prove useful for you to remember that some information is also better left outside the will, such as your funeral arrangements.
These few steps only scratch the surface of what estate planning could involve for you. Your process will be a personal one, and you can include as much information as you believe suits your needs. You may find it helpful to discuss your plan with an experienced attorney in order to gain information on planning options and tools that may help you on this journey.