Legal Documents You Need for Estate Planning

In case of a person’s untimely demise or incapacitation, a comprehensive legal guide is necessary to manage their finances and properties according to their wishes. Having an estate plan is important to avoid ambiguity or conflict when it comes time for your family to handle your assets.

It is important to coordinate with an estate planning attorney who will help you protect your assets and make the process less intimidating through our experienced and organized approach.  The following documents may encompass an estate plan:

Wills. A will is the cornerstone of any basic estate plan and will ensure your assets pass to your intended beneficiaries.  It identifies the person who will carry out your wishes (the executor), names beneficiaries or heirs, identifies guardianship for minors if necessary, and provides instructions on how and when beneficiaries can receive their inheritance. Without a will, distributing your estate is established by the Texas Estates Code, not according to your wishes.

Trusts. A trust agreement enables a third party to manage and distribute your estate for beneficiaries or heirs per the legal document and allows more control on how and when to disburse the assets. Furthermore, trusts can be utilized to aid a child with special needs through their lifetime.  Working with a probate lawyer saves you from unnecessary taxes and processing time.

A Living Will. A living will is a document with a detailed directive to physicians that outlines your wishes for medical treatment if you become unable to communicate due to a terminal illness or an irreversible condition. This document includes your healthcare preferences concerning life support, resuscitation, and end of life.

A Durable Financial Power of Attorney. Who will manage your financial affairs if you become incapacitated?  The power of attorney designee may act on your behalf regarding financial matters such as paying for bills, filing tax returns, and selling a property. However, the POA is not a will substitute, and it should be updated periodically.

A Medical Power of Attorney. Lke the durable financial power of attorney, this document appoints your healthcare agent. The assigned person will make any necessary healthcare decisions if you cannot do so by yourself. Their authority does not activate unless you become legally incapable of communicating these wishes on your own.  They will make sure that doctors and other healthcare providers will honor your preferred healthcare requests.

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At Craig, Terrill, Hale & Grantham, LLP, expect top-notch legal services and assistance. Contact us today and work with an estate planning attorney to customize an estate plan to meet your needs.  Mention this article and receive a free consultation on your estate planning needs.