Estate Planning Attorneys
The future is uncertain, and none of us truly knows what’s in store for us or how many years we have left. This is an unpleasant thought, which is a major reason why so many of us procrastinate when it comes to estate planning. It is scary to contemplate your own mortality.
On the other hand, the fact that the future is uncertain is precisely why no adult should put off estate planning. Creating a thorough, legally sound estate plan is the best way to ensure that your wishes are honored and that your loved ones are taken care of when you are no longer around. The good news is that estate planning is easier than you might think, especially with the help of an experienced attorney.
The Documents and Instruments You’ll Need
The process can feel overwhelming if you’ve never done it before. But truth be told, you’ll only need about half a dozen documents and legal instruments in place. Most are customizable with the help of an attorney, which means they can cover a lot of important information tailored specifically to your needs and goals. Additionally, estate plans are meant to function as “living documents,” meaning that almost all estate planning tools can be updated at any time to reflect preferences and circumstances as an individual’s situation evolves.
Here is what most estate plans should contain:
- A will: This document helps you list all of your assets and specify which heirs should receive specific items. You will also name an executor in your will, who is a trust person designated to carry out the terms of your will and other final affairs.
- One or more trusts: These are highly customizable legal tools that allow you to pass on property to heirs while minimizing the need for probate, minimizing taxes and giving you significant control over how and when the assets are distributed.
- An Advance Directive: this is also known as a “Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates.” In other states, it is known as a living will. In short, an advance directive is a document specifying your wishes for medical care in case you become incapacitated and become unable to make or communicate your own wishes at that time.
- Medical Power of Attorney: This is a designated (trusted) person who will make medical decisions on your behalf if you can no longer make or communicate them yourself. If certain decisions are already spelled out in your advance directive, your medical POA will honor those wishes. If no guidance is given on a particular subject, he or she will make the decisions for you.
- Durable Power of Attorney for Finances: Incapacity can take many forms in later life. Most common among them are dementia and coma. If you become unable to make or communicate decisions for yourself, a Durable POA for finances can make financial decisions on your behalf and access your funds in order to pay your bills and take care of other financial matters. This position requires a great deal of trust, so choose wisely.
Ready To Get Started? Contact Us Today.
Our firm can help you create a customized, thorough, and legally sound estate plan that offers maximum protection under Texas law. To learn more about how we can guide you through the estate planning process, call the experienced Austin, TX team at Gray & Becker, P.C. to arrange an initial consultation. We look forward to speaking with you.