Is There a More Beneficial Option Than a Will?

 Posted on April 12, 2024 in Estate Planning

Fort Worth estate planning lawyerYou have probably heard many people say you “need” a will. While a will is helpful, there are other legal tools that can also provide benefits to you and your loved ones. A Texas lawyer can help you discover the best legal option based on your circumstances.

The Limitations of a Will

While a will allows you to designate beneficiaries for your assets and appoint guardians for your minor children, it does not protect you from probate. Probate refers to the legal procedure of authenticating a will and allocating assets in accordance with its directives. In Texas, probate can be time-consuming and costly, often requiring court appearances and legal fees.

A will only takes effect upon your death, meaning it does not provide any benefits during your lifetime. If you become incapacitated due to illness or injury, a will cannot help manage your affairs or make medical decisions on your behalf.

The Benefits of a Trust

One legal tool that can provide more comprehensive benefits than a will is a trust. In Texas, several types of trusts are designed to meet specific needs and goals. For example, a revocable living trust allows you to transfer assets into the trust during your lifetime, which a trustee of your choosing can then manage. Upon your death, the assets in the trust can be distributed to your beneficiaries without going through probate, saving time and money.

A trust can provide protection during your lifetime. If you become incapacitated, your trustee can step in to manage your affairs according to your wishes, ensuring that your assets are protected.

The Power of Advance Directives

Another legal tool that can provide significant benefits is an advance directive. In Texas, the two main types of advance directives are the medical power of attorney and the directive to physicians, also known as a living will.

A medical power of attorney allows you to designate someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. This can be especially important if you have specific wishes regarding your medical care, such as whether to receive life-sustaining treatment.

A directive to physicians, on the other hand, allows you to specify your wishes regarding end-of-life care, such as whether to receive artificial nutrition or hydration. By putting these wishes in writing, you can ensure that your medical care aligns with your values and beliefs, even if you cannot communicate them yourself.

The Importance of Comprehensive Estate Planning

While a will is an important part of estate planning, it is not the only tool available. By incorporating trusts, advance directives, and other legal instruments into your estate plan, you can provide more comprehensive protection for yourself and your loved ones.

Estate planning is not a one-time event. Reviewing and updating your estate plan is important as your life circumstances change, such as getting married, having children, or acquiring new assets. Working with an experienced Texas estate planning attorney ensures that your plan remains up-to-date and reflects your current wishes and goals.

Contact a Fort Worth, TX Estate Planning Attorney

While a will is beneficial, other legal tools can provide even more excellent protection and peace of mind. By incorporating trusts, advance directives, and other instruments into your estate plan, you can ensure that your assets are protected, your medical wishes are honored, and your loved ones are provided for, both during your lifetime and after your death. A Fort Worth, TX estate planning lawyer can help you sort all the details and ensure you take the proper steps forward. Call Gonzalez Law, PLLC at 817-349-7330 for a free consultation to ensure you and your family can stay ahead of the decisions associated with a death in the family.

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