Establishing a comprehensive estate plan is one of the most critical steps you can take to ensure your loved ones are well provided for in the event that you become incapacitated or pass away.
If you are considering your estate plan but are not sure where to start, do not hesitate to reach out to a Sugar Land trust and estates lawyer for more information. A compassionate attorney from Romano & Sumner can help you establish an estate plan that provides peace of mind and reflects your wishes for your asset distribution.
There are a variety of essential documents that a Sugar Land legal advisor can help you enact as part of your estate plan. Your estate includes assets such as:
In the absence of a detailed estate plan, it will be left up to the court and Texas law to determine how your property will be disbursed at death. In the event that a person is incapacitated due to illness, a judge may designate someone to make determinations about the individual’s health and finances on their behalf. When someone has minor children but does not have an established estate plan, the court has the ability to decide to whom guardianship rights will be granted.
While an estate plan can be comprised of numerous documents and directives, one of the most important is a person’s will. With a will, you can establish how you want your assets to be disbursed and can name your beneficiaries. As the testator (the person making the will) you can also identify the individual that you would like to act as your representative when controlling and disbursing your estate upon your death.
Medical and durable powers of attorney are two other crucial estate planning documents. In a medical power of attorney, you can identify someone to make important decisions about your health if you become sick and are unable to make these decisions on your own.
A durable power of attorney has a similar purpose, with the difference being that it gives someone the authority to make financial determinations if you suffer a short-term or irreparable injury or illness and cannot make these decisions.
Understanding the differences between wills and trusts is crucial when establishing a plan for an estate. Wills and trusts are separate from one another, but a trust can be created under someone’s will. In some cases, based on the individual’s assets and purpose for their estate plan, a trust may even be a viable replacement for a will. A Sugar Land trust and estate attorney can help you determine whether a trust is an effective tool for your situation, either in addition to or in place of a will.
Often, when someone creates a will, it will need to pass through probate upon their death, prior to any assets being distributed to the beneficiaries. A trust does not go through probate proceedings, however. In a trust, the person’s property is put in the hands of a trustee who manages the property until assets are distributed to the individual’s beneficiaries. While a will does not take effect until after a person’s death, the creation of a trust sets an immediate process in motion.
If the trust is revocable, also known as a living trust, the individual who created the trust can modify it later on, if they so choose. On the other hand, if the trust is irrevocable, the person cannot withdraw the property or change any provisions of the trust. A trust can also give the trustee the authority to make decisions about the individual’s property on their behalf if the creator of the document becomes indisposed and is incapable of making decisions.
If you have questions about creating your estate plan, you should consult with a Sugar Land trust and estates lawyer. An attorney could help you examine the ramifications of choosing particular estate plan formations over others and help you establish a plan that best meets your needs. Schedule a case consultation with Romano & Sumner today for more information.
Romano & Sumner – Sugar Land, TX Attorneys