People in Texas who are creating an estate plan might want to start by making a list of their assets and their value or approximate value. If they have minor children, they should think about who they would want to be their guardian, and if they have dependents, they might want to purchase life insurance. This can help cover cost of living as well as such things as college tuition.

With the list of assets at hand, people should consider who they want to list as beneficiaries to receive those assets. They may also want to think about who they would appoint to make financial and health care decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated. Powers of attorney can name these individuals. A living will can detail the person’s wishes for end-of-life care.

People may want to consider working with an attorney to create the estate plan. Among other things, an attorney may be able to help a person decide whether to use a will or a trust as the main document in the estate plan. A will appoints an executive to oversee the probate process and administer the estate. With a trust, assets do not have to pass through probate, and a revocable trust can be changed or canceled by the creator.

Even people who have a trust may want to use a will to name guardians for their children and to ensure that any assets go into the trust when the person dies. This is often called a “pour-over” will. The person might want to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different types of trusts with an elder law, estate planning & probate lawyer. A person who creates an irrevocable trust usually cannot make changes to it, but it offers greater protection than a revocable trust, including protection against creditors.