Estate planning is a crucial step for anyone who cares about their family’s future. In Texas, a comprehensive estate plan can help protect your assets, ensure they’re distributed according to your wishes, and prevent unnecessary conflicts or costs. The following are key components that should be included in your estate plan:
A will is a legal document that outlines how you want your assets distributed after your death. A will can work in a cohesive way with other estate planning tools, such as a trust. Your will represents the thought and care you’ve put into the estate planning process. You can think of your will as the guidance your family needs for the next phase.
Trusts are legal entities that hold assets for the benefit of others. Trusts offer a level of control over asset distribution, and trusts can help your family avoid probate, which is a time-consuming and often costly court process. There are many types of trusts available, and they each have unique features, such as:
- Trusts designed to benefit individuals with disabilities while not impacting their essential government benefits
- Trusts that pay out to family members for a set period of time and then donate the remaining assets to your preferred charity
- Trusts that allow for transferring a substantial amount of money tax-free to beneficiaries who are at least two generations your junior
The type of trust you need for your family depends entirely on your goals and priorities.
Powers of attorney
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone else to make decisions on your behalf in the event that you become incapacitated. The person you appoint, known as your agent, can manage your financial affairs, make health care decisions, or conduct other business for you. You can create separate financial powers of attorney and medical powers of attorney.
Advance health care directives
Also known as a living will, an advance health care directive outlines your wishes for medical treatment should you become unable to communicate or make decisions for yourself. This document can provide guidance for your loved ones and medical professionals in a difficult time, ensuring that your personal values and preferences are respected.
Your estate plan is built on your priorities.
An estate plan is a collection of legal tools designed to protect your assets, your wishes, and your loved ones. To learn more about your options, please see our overview of estate planning and probate in Texas.