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Everyone should consider estate planning

Although a younger person from Houston may not be thinking about what may happen if he or she dies or becomes incapacitated, taking estate planning steps early in life can provide safeguards to protect the person's medical and financial preferences. One of the critical estate planning documents that everyone should complete regardless of age is a will.

Young people may have a home, retirement account, bank account, household furnishings, collections or other items of value. Having a will can ensure that the person's belongings go to the specific people that he or she would want them to go to. Otherwise, these assets can be eaten up by the long and expensive process of disposing of assets through intestacy. Furthermore, dying without a will can make these items pass based on a specific formula, based on Texas state law. Having a will enables people to give a special collection to a friend with a common interest or to avoid giving a distant relative, even a parent or a sibling, items to which they should not be entitled. Wills also give people a chance to name a guardian for their own young children.

Another estate planning necessity is a living will. This legal document sets out parameters for a person's healthcare if he or she is not able to communicate with medical providers. A person can indicate whether he or she wants to be resuscitated or receive life-sustaining treatment. A person may also wish to assign a health care proxy that allows another person to make healthcare decisions for this person in the event of incapacity.

Individuals who want to take proactive steps in determining how their death or incapacity should be handled may consult with a Houston estate planning attorney. Every situation is different and a person may benefit from having certain documents drafted on his or her behalf.

Source: NBC News, "Even young adults should start estate planning", Sheyna Steiner, May 06, 2013

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