Are you losing sleep and stressed out because you have not legally documented what happens after you pass away?
Every adult needs to have an Estate Plan because no one can predict the future.
It is important to have a plan for when you pass so that your legacy and children are taken care of according to your plan, so that there is not additional chaos and burden on your family in forms of lawsuits and family fighting. Now is as good of a time as it will ever be to get your affairs in order. Often times people put it off until they are either elderly or seriously ill, creating a situation where it is too late to make a plan. When you make an appointment with our firm, you will quickly learn how to eliminate the fear and confusion and move forward with a process to make sure that your family is not left with a huge mess to deal with after you pass away.
Do I really need a Will?
Every person needs a will if you own any property. If you die without a will, your property will not be given according to your wishes, but according to the laws of Intestate Succession in the State of Texas. Making a Will is the only way to ensure that the property that makes up your estate will be distributed according to your wishes. Also, if you have children that are under 18 years old, you will want to name the correct person who will care for your children and become the legal guardian when you die.
Who do I want to be my Executor?
Think of who do you want to carry out and handle the administration of your estate. This personal representative acts in accordance with your will to carry out your wishes. They will need to get the will filed with the probate court and distribute your property and assets according to your designated beneficiaries. It is best to have already decided on a burial and funeral arrangements with a prepaid plan so that your Executor can act quickly according to your plans. Most often we see the Executor being the spouse, sibling, adult children, or close friend of the person making the will. No doubt your family will be grieving so it is important to think who can handle these matters during a difficult time. Also, you need to come up with an alternative person to be the Executor in case the person your name either dies before you or is unable or not willing to serve as your Executor.
Who should I choose to be the Guardian for my children?
When you die and leave a child who is a minor, you need to designate a person to manage the money and assets of the minor as well as take your place in parenting your child. People who share similar values, parenting styles and goals should be an obvious choice to be the person who would step in and serve as your child's parent. Considering someone who is young enough and physically capable of being the guardian until your children reach adulthood is another priority. These are typically the most difficult decisions to make when preparing an estate plan, but this is a decision best made by you and not by the State of Texas.
What happens if I can't take care of my affairs because of accident or illness, but I am still alive?
You will need a Durable Power of Attorney where you name the person who will act under authority given by you to manage your affairs and finances. Whoever you designate as your Agent will have the various rights and powers set out in the power of attorney. Simply, they act as if they are you, when making decisions under a Power of Attorney.
However, a separate Medical Power of Attorney will be required for another person to be appointed as your health care agent and make medical decisions on your behalf when you are not able to make your own decisions. Also, a Physicians Directive or Advance Directive is a document that tells the doctor or hospital your wishes about the type of medical care that you want to receive if you become incapable of making treatment decisions for yourself. You can request that health care providers administer or withdraw life sustaining treatment, meaning that you have decided to be put on life support or not, so that you can make the decision before hand and not leave some decision to pull the plug as a burden on your loved ones. These can cover late stages of terminal illness or states of unconsciousness where you are not expected to ever recover.
Estate Planning FAQ's
I am thinking about an Estate Plan, Do I need both a Will and a Trust?
A will is recommended for anyone who has a spouse, children, or property. For some individuals, a trust may also be helpful in ensuring that their assets are handled and distributed according to their wishes. To learn more about what situations are best for a will or a trust, please click here.
If I already have an Estate Plan, do I really need to update it when I move to the state of Texas?
Texas law contains a number of provisions for simplifying the execution of a will that you may wish to take into consideration. In addition, you may wish to consider completing state-specific forms for such documents as powers of attorney. To learn more about the need to update your Estate Plan after moving to Texas, click here to learn more.
Every adult really needs to put these documents in place, as these are not just for elderly or sick people.
Unfortunately, we all know the reality that a catastrophic accident or medical crisis resulting in a person permanently unconscious could happen at any time. Find the peace of mind today know thing that you have done all that you can to manage affairs after you pass so that you can minimize the pain and burden on your loved-ones. Call us today at 512-454-7548 to get started.