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A will is possibly the most common document that comes to mind when you think of estate planning. A will is a document that takes effect after a person’s death. After you pass away, the Independent Executor named in your will applies to be appointed by the court to obtain Letters Testamentary and officially act as the personal representative of your estate. Probating a will can be a fairly simple process in Texas compared to other states, but it is important to have not only a valid will, but one with the appropriate language allowing for an independent administration.
A trust is another document about which many have probably heard of. There are many types of trusts that can be created for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the most common type is the revocable trust, which is a flexible tool for maintaining privacy and avoiding probate and is the only alternative to a Will based plan (except of course you elect to go with the State of Texas plan for your assets). A revocable trust is also a reliable means of owning out-of-state property and avoiding conflict when a family has complicated or unique family dynamics. Irrevocable trusts can be a tax and liability planning device. Special needs trusts can protect and pass wealth to those family members who may rely on government assistance.
A will or trust is not all you need when preparing your estate plan. In addition to these documents, which are mainly in place to handle affairs upon your passing, our attorneys prepare several other “core” documents that will help facilitate your care should you become incapacitated or need someone to act on your behalf. These documents include a financial power of attorney, medical power of attorney, HIPAA authorization, directive to physicians and declarations of guardian. These are critical documents for anyone over the age of 18, which is the age a child becomes legally recognized as an adult and a parent loses the right to act on the child’s behalf. >> Read more.