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Important steps in estate planning

Many Texas individuals prefer to put off estate planning for as long as possible, but this avoidance is unnecessary and may be unwise unwise. A recent article condensed the operation of creating a quality estate plan down to five steps.

The first and most important step in estate planning is to find a qualified and experienced estate planning attorney to assist you. Because a quality estate plan is likely to involve the execution of several legal documents, an experienced attorney could be invaluable in ensuring that everything is in order.

According to the article, the second step in crafting a quality estate plan is to assess your assets. In order to plan for their distribution, you must have an accurate picture of what assets you have.

The third step is defining your goals. Without a goal, you risk passing down your assets aimlessly and in a way that fails to maximize their value to your beneficiaries.

The fourth step is to determine your tax liability. The amount you pass on and how you do so will affect the amount your estate will owe the government.

The fifth and final step is to update your plan. While steps one through four will help you generate a quality plan, you must be sure to avoid obsolescence by changing your plan as your life changes.

The article likely puts its first rule at the top for a reason. Laws that affect estate planning are complicated and vary from state to state. Taking the first step seriously and obtaining the service of an experienced attorney may make navigating the final four steps immeasurably easier.

Source: Northwest Herald, "Five steps to take in devising an estate plan", Patrick S. O’Connor, July 06, 2013

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