Recent Blog Posts

Facts about power of attorney in Texas

 Posted on February 28, 2022 in Uncategorized

There are many things that you have to consider when estate planning. One of them is the fact that you can become incapacitated at any time, so you need to have a plan in place for who will make decisions on your behalf. This is where the power of attorney comes in. Read on to learn more about this important estate planning tool.

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document in estate planning that allows you to appoint someone else to make decisions on your behalf. Power of attorney is often used for financial matters, medical decisions or both. It may be limited to specific tasks, such as making decisions about your health care or handling your finances.

What are the benefits of a power of attorney?

The agent you appoint will be able to manage your assets, pay bills and file taxes as necessary. It can also help reduce stress on family members who may not live nearby or who might get overwhelmed with other responsibilities at the time that you need them most.

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Everything you need to know about probate

 Posted on February 28, 2022 in Uncategorized

In Texas, probate is a necessary estate administration process that ensures that estate plans get executed properly. Sometimes, it is necessary when somebody dies with assets and there are issues or doubts surrounding the executor, the will or the estate itself. If you’ve been asking yourself certain questions about probate, keep reading.

What is probate?

Probate is the legal process of estate administration that occurs when there are disputes among heirs or creditors regarding the estate, its executor and the distribution process. The purpose of the probate process is to check the validity of a will and to ensure that estate plans are properly executed by the right person.

How does probate work?

The executor of an estate files all required documents with the local courthouse for review by the estate judge. If approved, an estate inventory is then created and creditors get notified. All assets of the estate are then identified along with any debts before the heirs or beneficiaries receive anything. The estate is then divided among the heirs in accordance with the estate plan.

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What to do about digital assets in your estate plan

 Posted on February 28, 2022 in Uncategorized

If you live in Texas and you are creating an estate plan, you should also give some thought to your digital assets. You do not need to own cryptocurrency or a valuable domain in order to have digital assets that need to be addressed. Your digital life includes your social media accounts, your digital photos, and your emails as well as any online accounts and other things you own that are digitized. You may also have hybrid assets, such as an account with a brick-and-mortar bank that you can access online.

What to do

The first step should be making a list of all your assets along with any important information about them, such as passwords and account numbers. As is the case with any other type of property, you then need to decide which of your beneficiaries will get your digital assets. Like most other states, Texas has a version of the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, which allows the people you designate to access your accounts.

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Include provisions for incapacitation in your estate plan

 Posted on February 28, 2022 in Uncategorized

For many high-worth individuals in Texas, determining how to leave your wealth to your beneficiaries can be complicated. One aspect that people tend to overlook is planning for incapacitation should you become ill and unable to make decisions for yourself. Planning for incapacitation is just as important as the other aspects of managing your estate.

Steps in Planning for Incapacitation

You may think that a will or a trust are the only documents you need for estate planning purposes. However, those documents won’t help you in the present if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. You’ll want to ensure that care for dependents and the orderly management of your wealth occurs if you are incapacitated for any reason and unable to make decisions. You should also stipulate end-of-life wishes if you end up in a vegetative state.

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The importance of estate planning for parents of young children

 Posted on February 28, 2022 in Uncategorized

If you have young children and prefer not to think about planning for their well-being after your death, you are not alone. Many parents in Texas avoid this topic, but it is important to create an estate plan to ensure that your children get the very best care if something happens to you.

Your children

For a parent, one of the most important functions of a will is to name a guardian for the children. This is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to make sure your children will be in the care of someone you have chosen. If you do not choose a guardian, the court process to appoint one can be long and stressful.

You may also want to consider both a life insurance policy and a trust so that your children are cared for. A trust may not be the right choice for every family, but it can mean that your children receive assets at the time and in the way that you want.

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Have you written down your preferences about medical care?

 Posted on February 28, 2022 in Uncategorized

If you experience a significant medical event, your family members may be the ones who have to make decisions about your medical care. After a car crash, a stroke or even a heart attack, you may not be able to make your own decisions about the care that you need.

Your spouse or even your children may have to make those decisions on your behalf because you are unconscious or otherwise incapacitated. Although you may have spoken about your wishes in the past, it’s likely that your family members will struggle to recall every term you set during a stressful time.

Have you committed your medical preferences to writing yet?

There are many decisions to make about modern medical care

Advances in modern medicine mean that there are more treatment and therapy options than ever before. Some medical treatments might violate certain people’s religious beliefs. Other individuals past a certain age or with lifelong medical conditions may want less intensive intervention if they have a sudden medical event.

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Valuable assets leave your loved ones vulnerable to estate taxes

 Posted on February 28, 2022 in Uncategorized

Maybe you ran a ranch for most of your life and have hundreds of acres of land and thousands of animals that you will leave to a loved one. Perhaps you have valuable real estate holdings, substantial personal investments or a business.

Being able to leave highly valuable property to your loved ones can be a source of comfort and security for those people as they grieve after you die and a source of pride for you in your golden years. Unfortunately, the more valuable your property, the more likely it is that your family and loved ones won’t receive the full value of those assets unless you plan carefully.

Estate taxes impact how much you leave behind and can drastically diminish the value of your estate if you don’t plan for them ahead of time.

Texans only have to worry about federal estate taxes

There is a noteworthy number of states that apply their own, secondary estate tax to the estates of residents when they die. Thankfully, Texas is not among them.

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Updating an estate plan is an important thing to do

 Posted on February 28, 2022 in Uncategorized

Updating an estate plan is an important thing to do. As life changes, an estate plan should also change with the estate planner’s life. Knowing just went to update an estate plan is key for estate planners to be familiar with.

Estate plans should be routinely updated and reviewed but in addition to that, there are certain instances in life when estate planners should always take time to review and update their estate plan. These times include:

  • If the estate planner has experienced a major relationship change – if the estate planner’s relationships change, they should ensure their estate plan incorporates those changes. This can include a marriage, death, divorce or birth for the estate planner.
  • If the estate planner has completed a major move or relocation to another state – if the estate planner moves to another state, they need to ensure that their estate plan complies with the laws of their new state.

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How can I plan for incapacity for myself or my loved one?

 Posted on February 28, 2022 in Uncategorized

Estate planning documents can help estate planners plan for medical incapacity and financial incapacity. It is important to plan for circumstances if an estate planner becomes unable to direct their own medical and financial affairs to help alleviate the burden that may be felt by loved ones and the estate planner themselves and estate planning can help. Following are some of the important estate planning documents to help estate planners plan for incapacity.

Advance healthcare directive or living will

An advance healthcare directive, sometimes referred to as a living will, outlines the medical care and treatment the estate planner wishes to receive. It outlines quality of life concerns and medical treatments the estate planner does, and does not, wish to receive and will also address other concerns such as resuscitation including a do not resuscitate order.

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3 Benefits of including a trust in your estate plan

 Posted on February 28, 2022 in Uncategorized

Estate plans contain several different important documents, each designed to ensure that your estate is secure and your family’s future and legacy is in good hands. While many people use wills to list their assets and inheritors, trusts can be just as effective.

If you are considering using a trust in your estate plan, here are just three benefits that come with creating a trust.

Avoid probate

When you leave your assets in a will, each item must go through probate court. Probate can last months, and the costs can add up quickly. In addition, probate can cause undue stress on your family members. It can sometimes even leave space for family disputes and tension.

Assets in a trust, on the other hand, can skip probate altogether and go straight to the beneficiaries, saving your family time and money. You might consider placing more valuable items in a trust, like life insurance, real estate and savings accounts.

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