Consumer Reports – 7 Steps to Create a Texas Estate Plan

A recent Consumer Reports article gives the 7 Steps to Create a Texas Estate Plan.  Admittedly, the advice given in this excellent article is not state specific.  Read the article by clicking here.

Step 1: Create a Texas Will

A Last Will is very important for every person to have.  Yet, according to the Consumer Reports article, a mere 43 percent of Americans have wills.  What happens if you die without a will in Texas?  Then your “heirs” inherit all of your estate assets, and you have no say in who inherits estate assets.

Step 2: Name Beneficiaries On Your Accounts

Some of the assets held in bank accounts do not go through probate.  This means your Last Will & Testament has no power to say who inherits these assets.  With these accounts, the person listed on the beneficiary designation inherits these assets.  In most cases, it’s unwise to leave these beneficiary designations blank.

Step 3: Plan for Estate Taxes

Most peoples’ estates are small enough that the estates will not be subjected to federal estate tax.  However, it’s best to ask your estates lawyer to make sure there won’t be tax problems for your heirs.

Step 4: Leave a Letter of Instructions

Having a Will in Texas is a huge benefit to your family in and of itself.  However, it’s better if you can go one step further in creating a “letter of instructions” to your family.  This letter gives account details and contact information for your life insurance policies, bank accounts, etc.

Step 5: Create a Texas Durable Power of Attorney

Texas wills do a great job of transferring property after death.  However, who’s in charge of your property during your lifetime in the event you’re unable to make financial decisions?  The Texas power of attorney names someone you trust to look after your financial affairs in the event you can’t.

Step 6: Create a Texas Medical Power of Attorney and Texas Living Will

If you’re in catastrophic car wreck, who will talk with the hospital about your wishes?  If you can’t speak, the hospital will want someone else to make medical decisions while you’re unable.  This is the purpose of the medical power of attorney.

Further, if the hospital has already done everything they can to save your life, what medical treatment do you want?  Would you want to be on a ventilator indefinitely?

Step 7: Don’t Forget About Online Access

Your family will thank you for sharing online usernames and passwords.  So much of our financial lives is dictated by online access.  Making sure your family can access online accounts will help them tremendously.



Free Consultation

To ask a legal question or get legal help from Texas wills and Texas probate lawyer Isaac Shutt, use the online contact form to the right or call (214) 302-8197. If you prefer to meet at the office in person in Richardson, TX- the attorney will gladly offer a free consultation.

Visit for more information on how to get a Will in Texas, Texas wills, the steps to create a Texas estate plan, or what to do with a will after someone dies in Texas, contact Collin County Probate Attorney Isaac Shutt at

Shutt Law Firm’s office is conveniently located just north of Dallas, TX and just South of Plano, TX. The law office is near the intersection of highway 75 and Campbell Road in Richardson, TX.


You can also call Mr. Shutt at (214) 302-8197 for more information on the topic discussed in this article or to discuss a different legal matter. For existing clients, quick phone-calls and brief e-mails are always free at Shutt Law Firm PLLC. Please consider the Shutt Law Firm if you need letters testamentary, how to serve as executor in Texas, how to probate in Dallas County Probate Courts or the Collin County Probate Court, a Texas Last Will and Testament, or you need Dallas Probate Attorneys serving Richardson, Plano, Allen, McKinney, Garland, Addison, Rockwall, TX, Collin County, or surrounding North Texas area.


DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this brief article constitutes legal advice. The information provided herein is merely provided in the spirit of education. If you have a legal question, you should consult an attorney for your specific legal situation. Further, nothing in this article shall be construed to have started an attorney-client relationship. No such relationship exists until both you and attorney Isaac Shutt sign an engagement letter with the Shutt Law Firm, PLLC.

Probate Attorney, Wills Lawyer, and Guardianship Attorney

By Isaac Shutt