Estate plans are only for the wealthy. Only old people need an estate plan. You only need an estate plan if you are seriously ill. These and other common myths surround estate planning. In reality, however, these are not true statements. An estate plan can benefit anyone. An estate planning lawyer from Jason English Law can explain the various benefits of an estate plan when you call for a confidential consultation at (512) 454-7548.
What Is An Estate Plan?
An estate plan is any plan you create to transfer ownership of your assets at the time of your death.
An estate is anything that you own. Estates often include:
- Real property like residential homes, investment properties, or land
- Financial accounts, including checking accounts, savings accounts, and investment accounts
- Life insurance policies
- Vehicles and boats
- Personal possessions, such as furniture, household effects, and jewelry
- Intangible property and digital assets, such as intellectual property or cryptocurrencies
What Is the Purpose of an Estate Plan?
The primary purpose of an estate plan is to provide instructions about how your property should be handled after your death. However, there are other purposes, such as:
- Nominating a person to care for your children if you die or become incapacitated while they are young
- Specifying the type of medical treatment you would like to receive at end-of-life
- Establishing in advance the procedures loved ones should follow in the event you become disabled
- Reducing the burden on your loved ones after your death by providing guidance for your final arrangements
- Appointing a trusted person to manage your affairs in case of death or disability
An estate planning lawyer can assist with the process of creating an estate plan to make sure that your family's future is taken care of when you are no longer around to help.
Why Do Some People Not Have an Estate Plan?
The AARP reports that approximately 60% of people who were surveyed do not have a will or trust. When asked why they did not have an estate plan, 47% said they had not gotten around to it, and 29% said they did not have enough assets to leave to anyone.
Why Estate Planning Raises Difficult Questions
Many people find it difficult to confront their own mortality. Estate planning often raises questions that people may not be emotionally prepared to address, such as:
- Do you want life-sustaining treatment withheld if you have a terminal condition?
- Who should care for your children if you die while they are minors?
- Whom can you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot make them for yourself?
- What should happen to your property after your death?
- How should your property be managed if you become disabled?
Why You Should Confront Difficult Questions Directly
People may be afraid to address these issues. They might be afraid to bring them up with family members because these are difficult decisions to face, or because they think disputes may arise. However, waiting until a crisis is already at hand can often be even more problematic because emotions are heightened. Therefore, people may want to consider creating an estate plan while their mind and conscience are clear.
Benefits of an Estate Plan
Everyone can benefit from an estate plan. Here are some of the most common benefits of an estate plan:
You Can Create Your Own Plan
If you do not create your own plan, the state has a plan for you. By proactively creating your own plan, you can ensure that your wishes are carried out when the time comes. A fully developed estate plan can do the following:
- Determine who should receive your property after you die
- Nominate a guardian for your children
- Instruct your personal representative to care for your pets
- Outline your medical wishes
You Can Protect Your Family
When you create an estate plan, you are taking steps to protect your family. Without a plan in place, your family may have to undergo significant expense and distress if you become disabled. Your property may not go to your loved ones if you die without a will. An estate plan can also protect your family's privacy.
You Can Communicate Your Wishes
With an estate plan, you can communicate your wishes so your loved ones know what you would want in difficult situations. Knowing that they are abiding by the directives you already set out can be a comfort to the family members tasked with end-of-life care and final arrangements.
Why Waiting Until You Are Old or Sick To Make an Estate Plan Is a Mistake
Some people may think they do not need an estate plan unless they are old or sick, so they might wait until one of these is true. However, waiting until you are old or sick to make an estate plan can be a huge mistake. Without a proper plan in place, you could lose control over your choice for health care, the guardianship of your children, and your property.
In Texas, anyone age 18 or older who is of sound mind can make a will and other estate planning documents. This privilege also extends to people who are or have been married and those enlisted in the armed forces. However, if you wait until you are old or sick, you may not be legally able to execute estate planning documents. This could mean that you might not be allowed to make important decisions about your health and finances. The court might go through the expensive and invasive process of appointing a guardian to take care of you. If you have old estate planning documents in place, you might not be able to modify them to account for new changes in your life.
How an Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help
Fortunately, you do not have to go about making an estate plan alone. An estate planning lawyer with Jason English Law can help by:
- Discussing your circumstances and wishes
- Explaining your options and offering personalized advice
- Helping you determine which estate plans to put in place
- Determining the estate planning documents you need
- Preparing estate planning that clearly communicate your wishes
- Answering any questions you have during the process
- Reviewing your existing estate planning documents and making recommendations for updating them
Contact Jason English Law For Help With Your Estate Plan
There are many benefits of an estate plan. The most important time to consider estate planning is far in advance of any need you may have to use it. Consider how you can ensure your legal, financial and personal wishes are carried out by contacting an experienced Texas estate planning attorney. If you would like to know more about how an estate plan can protect your interests, consider contacting the compassionate and dedicated estate planning attorneys at Jason English Law at (512) 454-7548 and request a confidential consultation.