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Five Essential Estate Planning Must-Haves for Texas Families

Let's face it, nobody enjoys contemplating their mortality. But as adults, we must face the reality of preparing for the worst-case scenario, especially when we have a family to protect. My wife and I came to this realization after the birth of our beautiful son, Grant. We felt a responsibility to ensure he would be cared for, even if something tragic happened to us.

As a lawyer with over two decades of experience in estate planning, I never really thought of creating my own will until then. Through my research, I came to the conclusion that every family should have five essential documents in place for their protection.

The Five Must-Haves:

  • Wills for Each Parent: This covers guardianship and the care of minors.

  • Statutory Power of Attorney for Each Parent: This allows someone to act on your behalf in financial matters.

  • Medical Power of Attorney for Each Parent: This appoints someone to make healthcare decisions for you if you're unable to do so.

  • Living Will/Physician's Directive for Each Parent: This outlines your wishes for end-of-life care.

  • Coordinated Insurance and Beneficiary Designation on Non-Probate Assets: This ensures your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

Understanding the Basics:

A will is a document that dictates how your assets will be divided upon your death. It can also address the payment of debts, conditions upon certain gifts, and the appointment of executors. A well-drafted will is the cornerstone of any estate plan.

Revocable Living Trusts are another option. They're created to avoid the probate process upon death, with the goal of transferring all assets to the trust during your lifetime. However, this option can often be more complex and costly compared to a traditional will.

Handwritten Wills, or "holographic" Wills, are also recognized in Texas, but they come with their own set of challenges and should only be used as a last resort.


Estate planning is crucial for your family's well-being and security. It doesn't have to be costly or time-consuming unless you have an exceptionally large estate. By preparing these essential documents and considering the right insurance, you can provide your family with peace of mind. If your estate exceeds the federal estate tax exemption, you'll need to work with an attorney to structure your estate plan to minimize tax liabilities.

In our opinion, our Estate Planning Packages (for singles, couples, and families) are perfect for most families and people. You can find these packages in our Store.

If you have questions or need assistance, We're here to help. We created Curbside Attorney to make taking care of this vital task easy and affordable. Go to today and buy your package. Or, you can email Joel at or call him at 512-653-3150.

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