Austin, TX Fundamental Estate Planning

Estate Planning Law Firm Serving Those In Austin, TX and the Surrounding Area

Estate planning ensures assets are distributed per one’s wishes at death, using wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare documents. Without proper legal arrangements, state intestacy laws may be used instead. It’s essential to create a personalized estate plan with an attorney to align distribution with preferences.

Understanding Estate Planning: Securing Your Legacy

Estate planning encompasses various legal tactics, such as wills, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, durable powers of attorney, and healthcare-related documents. It’s common for new clients to believe they lack an estate plan. However, many are surprised to discover that in the absence of their own legal arrangements, their estate will be allocated posthumously according to the intestacy laws of Texas. This default distribution might not align with their personal preferences. By crafting a well-thought-out estate plan, you can ensure that your wishes, rather than the state’s default provisions, govern the distribution of your estate. Begin this process by working with an estate planning attorney to develop your personalized estate plan.

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Your Last Will and Testament

Your last will and testament is just one part of a comprehensive estate plan. If a person dies without a Will they are said to have died “intestate” and state laws will determine how and to whom the person’s assets will be distributed. Some things you should know about wills:

A will has no legal authority until after death. So, a will does not help manage a person’s affairs when they are incapacitated, whether by illness or injury.

A will does not help an estate avoid probate. A will is the legal document submitted to the probate court, so it is basically an “admission ticket” to probate.

Powers of Attorney

In estate planning, a power of attorney plays a pivotal role. This document grants someone else the authority to make decisions on your behalf, depending on its scope. It’s crucial to understand:

  • Scope and Limitations: Powers can be broad or specific, and all powers of attorney end upon the maker’s death. They may also cease if the maker becomes incapacitated, unless it’s a durable power of attorney.

  • Durable Powers of Attorney: For continuous decision-making power during incapacity, a durable power of attorney is essential. Regular updates are recommended to ensure its acceptance by financial institutions.

Health Care Documents (or Advance Directives)

Advance directives are a cornerstone of estate planning, outlining your medical and personal care preferences if you’re unable to decide for yourself. In Cedar Park, TX, we ensure your advance directives are comprehensive and legally sound. Key aspects include:

  • Decision-Making Authority: You can designate who will make decisions on your behalf.

  • Life-Prolonging Measures: You have the power to define the extent of life-prolonging care under specific circumstances, like a coma with no recovery chance.

  • Medical Information Access: Accompanying your advance directive should be an authorization for your chosen individuals to access your medical records, ensuring your healthcare providers and decision-makers are aligned.

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