Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Estate Planning Essentials

Last will and testament

Many different events occur throughout your life that may trigger the need for a new or updated estate plan.  Marriage, divorce, birth or death are just a few examples of events that create the need to change existing planning documents.  Yet oftentimes, people avoid creating their estate plan because they are unsure of what exactly they need to include.  Below is a list of the most important things to include in your estate plan:

  • Updated Will. If you die without a will, the court will not know how you wanted to distribute your assets and distribute them based on the distribution schedule established in the state probate code.  It is therefore important to have a proper will in place and update it so you are prepared for any unexpected event. 
  • Ancillary Documents. There are several documents that should be included in your estate plan including a durable power of attorney, medical power of attorney, HIPPA power of attorney, and beneficiary designations/guardians.
  • Setting Up a Trust. Depending upon the size of your estate, it may be necessary to include certain trusts.  These may include a bypass trust, a marital deduction trust, a survivor’s trust and a revocable living trust. 

See Caroline Marciano, Estate Planning for Busy Executives: How to Get the Basics in Line, Wealth Management, July 15, 2014.

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