Thinking about death can be extremely upsetting. People do not want to imagine their loved ones coping without them or having to handle their affairs after they have passed. However, some of these worries can be avoided. Older Texans can help their heirs before they die by keeping their affairs orderly and having a Houston estate plan in place. These steps may seem unnecessary but can help loved ones avoid key errors that often occur after a person’s death. Below are some tips everyone can follow, so their beneficiaries and loved ones will be able to efficiently execute their estate and wishes.
Have an Estate Plan in Place
While this tip may seem obvious, having a detailed estate plan in place is the only way to truly ensure a person’s wishes are honored after their passing. Estate planning is arranging – during a person’s life – the management and disposition of their estate after they have passed away. Often, this includes writing a will and naming beneficiaries who will receive any assets or property the person owns. Without an estate plan, loved ones will need to go to probate court before any assets can be distributed. The time and money spent going through this process – often a considerable amount – could all be avoided if the individual had created an estate plan. Then, their loved ones could focus on grieving and emotionally recuperating, rather than paying legal and court fees as the probate court process drags on.
Keep Detailed Records
In addition to having an estate plan in place, older adults should make sure their records are up to date and organized. The key to maintaining organized records is having a concise letter of instruction. This letter – which should be given to the executor of the estate – explains where all essential assets are located and the names and contact information of critical individuals, including their banker, insurance agent, financial planner, attorney, and next of kin. Without a letter of instruction, loved ones will likely spend hours combing through files and possessions, trying to track down every asset and belonging and not knowing really where to look.
In the letter of instruction, individuals should also put a list of all of their login information and passwords for relevant websites – like bank accounts – so the accounts can be conveniently accessed. This will also lessen the burden for an executor: without this information, they may be unable to access these accounts, and the information may be lost forever.
In order to ensure a mess will not be left for their loved ones, elderly individuals should contact an experienced estate planning attorney when thinking and planning ahead.
Contact a Houston Estate Planning Attorney
If you or an aging loved one needs assistance planning their estate, contact the experienced Houston estate planning attorneys at McCulloch & Miller, PLLC. Preparing for an individual’s passing may be emotionally difficult and upsetting, but we will help to organize your estate. Our years of experience means that we will create an estate plan that fits your specific needs, and guarantee your loved ones know what to do after your death. To speak to one of our knowledgeable attorneys today, call us at 713-333-8900.