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Few Americans have estate plans in place

Many Texas residents agree that it is important to plan for the future when it comes to protecting their assets and making sure their loved ones are taken care of. This is in harmony with recent surveys showing that the majority of Americans understand how important estate planning is, but few actually have a plan in place.

In one survey, over 75% of the respondents said that legacy and estate strategies were important for everyone, even individuals who were not wealthy. However, less than 25% had actually taken the step of designating beneficiaries in case of their death. On the bright side, it is good that Americans recognize the importance of proper estate planning. It puts a person in control of what happens to the people and things they love if they are no longer able to care for them, like dependents, minor children and financial assets.

On the other hand, it is startling that most Americans do not have a plan. If a person without a basic estate plan in place were to die, their assets would go through an expensive and time-consuming public probate process. This may allow creditors and relatives to challenge a person's will and access their records.

One of the easiest steps a person can take when starting the estate planning process is to designate beneficiaries for specific accounts. Updating estate plans and reviewing them on a regular basis along with communicating wishes to beneficiaries is crucial.

An individual who realizes the importance of estate planning but does not know where to start may wish to seek legal advice through an attorney. The attorney may be able to help the individual draw up important documents, like a will or a power of attorney. They may be able to provide advice on the best way to appoint beneficiaries and take other steps to protect an individual's assets and dependents.

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