After the death of an individual, their estate is passed onto certain inheritors or beneficiaries. Their estate consists of properties such as houses and cars, bank accounts, stocks, retirement funds, and insurance policies. Estate planning enables you to control the distribution of your assets after your death or any event causing incapacitation.
However, estate planning is complicated, and legal aid can significantly simplify the procedure. A Texas estate planning attorney understands your needs and helps develop a successful plan inclusive of all your objectives to ensure your peace of mind and the protection of your loved ones.
Essential components of estate planning.
The last will and testament.
The will is a legally enforceable document that states the individual’s management and distribution of assets. An executor is appointed to ensure that the will is executed according to the individual’s wishes and supervised by the probate court. The will needs to be within the regulations set by the state and federal government and be valid for it to be executed. Some conditions for it to be valid include legal age, voluntary, a sound mind, dated, signed, and witnessed.
Designation of beneficiaries.
Beneficiaries are the recipients of your estate after you pass away. There can be multiple beneficiaries, and the names should be updated in divorce, marriage, death, and births. A contingent beneficiary is also decided if the primary one is unavailable or dies before the estate owner. These usually include spouses, children, and other loved ones.
A trust gives a trustee the right to hold assets for the beneficiaries and pass them at the time and manner you decide. These often help reduce the taxes on estates and avoid probate. This makes the procedure less expensive and time-consuming while providing confidentiality, making it appealing. For example, the individual creates a trust to hold assets for minor children until they turn the age of 18.
Power of Attorney.
The individual appoints a power of attorney to make decisions on their behalf in incapacitation. It is legally binding, and they are obligated to act fairly and responsibly while managing your affairs. Their responsibilities and extent of power over your decisions depend on the type of power of attorney you appoint, such as springing, general and limited.
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Power of attorneys can also be appointed for specific purposes such as managing decisions regarding your medical care such as treatment, medication, and surgeries when you cannot do so yourself.
Estate planning attorneys help you learn about each component of your plan and offer advice that can help you make better decisions. They manage all the extensive paperwork and legal requirements while encouraging regular reviewing and updating of the plan. They can draft these documents and ensure that every need of yours is taken care of while providing other benefits such as reducing estate taxes and solving any probate disputes that might occur.