If the estate is small it is likely that it will not have to pay any estate taxes. Therefore, a more traditional approach to estate planning can be used depending on your desires. If you desire an uncomplicated way to pass your assets then a proper last will and testament can be drawn up. Be careful buying any last will and testament software or any “one stop shop” document. Even though probate is fairly simple in Texas there are some very tricky requirements to proper execution of a will. One missed step can result in the entire will being invalid. There are also many issues that aren’t addressed with a generic will. You don’t want some technical screw up to cause your property to go to a “laughing heir” or a person you had no intention of bequeathing any property.
A last will and testament will cover most property issues at death, but it should be accompanied by documents that take care of you if you become incapacitated. These documents include a directive to physicians or living will (this says whether or not to keep life support functioning in the event that there is no brain function), a medical power of attorney (this allows a loved one to make medical decisions for you if you are too ill to make them yourself), a durable general power of attorney (allows a loved one or trusted financial advisor to manage financial matters of your estate in case you are incapacitated), and a HIPPA release (allows doctors to see your medical files if you need them and are too ill to release them).