Houston Estate Planning Attorneys
Estate Planning to Carry Out Your Goals
Do you have an estate plan? You may be surprised to know that the truth is, everyone has an estate plan. Whether they realize it or not, the estate of every person will follow a plan after death.
For estates large and small, for those who have drafted a plan themselves or not, decisions will be made about what is left behind. Many people make those decisions themselves and leave a will or trust for loved ones to follow. For others who do not create a personal, memorialized plan, the laws of Texas will make those decisions for you. Therefore, the real question becomes—does your estate plan accomplish your individual goals?
Whether your estate plan consists of a simple will or a complex combination of estate documents, it deals with the most important issues in your life—your health and your family. Our Houston estate planning attorneys carefully attend to the unique needs presented by each client’s life, family, and finances, and we devise a plan that is tailored to meet your wishes. Don’t let the fate of your estate be decided by default, contact us today to learn more about how you can protect your family’s future.
Estate Planning Goals
Many people don’t think they need an estate plan, or they assume that their assets are not great enough to warrant a plan. Often, they simply trust their family members to do what is best when the time comes. Even a basic estate plan, however, can accomplish important goals, including:
- Respecting your final wishes. Regardless of the size your estate, you’ve worked hard for what you will leave behind. You have the right to decide what happens to your real estate, money, and other assets.
- Clarity. An effective estate plan reduces questions about: who is to be in charge of your estate during incapacity and after death; who should receive particular assets; and who is authorized to make health care decisions on your behalf.
- Preserving valuable time and resources. Estates left without direction fall to the direction of the courts. Often, estates are tied up in legal red tape as an executor is named and then as the executor takes action. This process is often lengthy and costly. Certain estate planning techniques can reduce or eliminate excessive cost and delays.
- Maintaining family relationships. When the time comes to for your family to make decisions about your health care, finances, and distribution of assets, emotions will run high. It can be difficult to make these decisions, and it is not uncommon for family members to struggle to decide what is best. With specific instruction from you, your family can avoid confusion and uncertainty.
Even if you aren’t sure if you need an estate plan or how to even begin
Benefits of Estate Planning
Having a thorough and well-tailored estate plan in place provides peace of mind and security for both you and your family. However, that’s not all a great estate plan can do. It can also allow you to:
- Plan for serious illness or incapacity. You can specify what kind of medical care you want should you become ill or incapacitated, and designate a trusted loved one or personal representative to make decisions on your behalf if you’re unable to make them for yourself.
- Ensure your final wishes are honored. Don’t make your family try to guess your last wishes or assume that relatives will carry out your verbal instructions once you’re gone. An estate plan lets everyone know exactly what you wanted and how it should be accomplished.
- Protect your assets. You can design your estate plan to shield assets from creditors or other unscrupulous parties, such as vengeful former spouses or family members who’re struggling with addiction.
- Provide for your family. An estate plan lets you pass assets and property to family in the way you feel is best. You can also appoint a guardian for minor children, decide how and when their inheritance will be distributed, and choose a trustee to oversee their finances until they come of age.
- Support your favorite causes and charities. You can customize your estate plan to include donations to your favorite causes and charities, as well as provide instructions for how those donations should be administered.
- Reduce tax liability. Careful estate planning can help you reduce—or even eliminate—certain estate-related tax obligations.
- Minimize family conflict. Relatives often don’t see eye to eye, and if your final wishes aren’t clearly spelled out, conflict can result.
- Save your family time and money. If you don’t have the right kind of will, the probate process can be lengthy and costly. A professionally prepared estate plan can help relatives simplify—or even avoid—the probate process.
To think about the future, don’t hesitate to reach out to us to get started. Our experienced lawyers can help you examine your unique circumstances and needs, and together we can craft a plan that will protect you and your loved ones.
Estate Planning Services
Estate planning is not just for the wealthy. Just about everyone with assets or children can benefit from estate planning.
Estate planning can include determining what happens to your property, who is to care for your minor children, and what happens to you, your property, and your minor children if you become incapacitated.
Here are a few of the estate planning services we provide:
- wills and related documents,
- powers of attorney,
- living wills (advance directives),
- medical plans,
- charitable giving,
- gift tax planning, and
- post- and pre-nuptial agreements.
If you are in Houston and have estate planning questions, we want to hear from you. We are Houston estate planning attorneys. We help clients navigate the estate planning process.