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If you live in Texas and you are creating an estate plan, you should also give some thought to your digital assets. You do not need to own cryptocurrency or a valuable domain in order to have digital assets that need to be addressed. Your digital life includes your social media accounts, your digital photos, and your emails as well as any online accounts and other things you own that are digitized. You may also have hybrid assets, such as an account with a brick-and-mortar bank that you can access online.

What to do

The first step should be making a list of all your assets along with any important information about them, such as passwords and account numbers. As is the case with any other type of property, you then need to decide which of your beneficiaries will get your digital assets. Like most other states, Texas has a version of the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, which allows the people you designate to access your accounts.

Who has power

It is always best to err on the side of being explicit about your intentions and wishes in your estate planning documents, and you should do this with your digital assets as well. For example, you will need to use your will or other documents to give someone permission to access your email, social media and any text messages. Your executor has the power to manage some digital assets, such as virtual currency, but if you would prefer that a spouse or other family member does instead, you can also specify this in your estate plan.

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There are many things that you have to consider when estate planning. One of them is the fact that you can become incapacitated at any time, so you need to have a plan in place for who will make decisions on your behalf. This is where the power of attorney comes in. Read on to learn more about this important estate planning tool.

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document in estate planning that allows you to appoint someone else to make decisions on your behalf. Power of attorney is often used for financial matters, medical decisions or both. It may be limited to specific tasks, such as making decisions about your health care or handling your finances.

What are the benefits of a power of attorney?

The agent you appoint will be able to manage your assets, pay bills and file taxes as necessary. It can also help reduce stress on family members who may not live nearby or who might get overwhelmed with other responsibilities at the time that you need them most.

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In Texas, probate is a necessary estate administration process that ensures that estate plans get executed properly. Sometimes, it is necessary when somebody dies with assets and there are issues or doubts surrounding the executor, the will or the estate itself. If you’ve been asking yourself certain questions about probate, keep reading.

What is probate?

Probate is the legal process of estate administration that occurs when there are disputes among heirs or creditors regarding the estate, its executor and the distribution process. The purpose of the probate process is to check the validity of a will and to ensure that estate plans are properly executed by the right person.

How does probate work?

The executor of an estate files all required documents with the local courthouse for review by the estate judge. If approved, an estate inventory is then created and creditors get notified. All assets of the estate are then identified along with any debts before the heirs or beneficiaries receive anything. The estate is then divided among the heirs in accordance with the estate plan.

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For many high-worth individuals in Texas, determining how to leave your wealth to your beneficiaries can be complicated. One aspect that people tend to overlook is planning for incapacitation should you become ill and unable to make decisions for yourself. Planning for incapacitation is just as important as the other aspects of managing your estate.

Steps in Planning for Incapacitation

You may think that a will or a trust are the only documents you need for estate planning purposes. However, those documents won’t help you in the present if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. You’ll want to ensure that care for dependents and the orderly management of your wealth occurs if you are incapacitated for any reason and unable to make decisions. You should also stipulate end-of-life wishes if you end up in a vegetative state.

Several legal documents should be part of planning your estate and are relatively easy to draw up. These include:

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If you have young children and prefer not to think about planning for their well-being after your death, you are not alone. Many parents in Texas avoid this topic, but it is important to create an estate plan to ensure that your children get the very best care if something happens to you.

Your children

For a parent, one of the most important functions of a will is to name a guardian for the children. This is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to make sure your children will be in the care of someone you have chosen. If you do not choose a guardian, the court process to appoint one can be long and stressful.

You may also want to consider both a life insurance policy and a trust so that your children are cared for. A trust may not be the right choice for every family, but it can mean that your children receive assets at the time and in the way that you want.

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The First Step: Call Today
It is never too late to get help on your estate plan. To discuss your situation with a seasoned estate planning attorney, call our Fort Worth office at 817-349-7730. Or, reach out through our online contact form. We will respond as soon as possible.
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