Every adult needs an estate plan. “Estate planning” means different things to different people. Often, the assumptions made about what estate planning is fall short of everything that is actually involved in the process.
What does “estate planning” mean to you?
Is your priority to protect your minor children and appoint a guardian for them? Does providing for a blended family seem daunting? Who would manage your assets if you are incapacitated? Do you need to update your out-of-state documents? You need help to determine what estate planning elements are right for your situation.
Laura focuses on your individual concerns and those of your family. In order to create a customized plan that reflects your priorities, she leverages her experience with clients from all wealth levels and family backgrounds. Having an estate plan that you know has been carefully and expertly built just for you provides peace of mind for you and your family.
The following are just some of the services offered:
Your Will is the foundation of your estate plan. It directs how your assets should be distributed upon your death. Without a Will, your probate assets will be distributed according to the Texas Estates Code. Because your Will is the guiding document of your estate plan, you will need to consider several elements.
Could your loved ones benefit from a trust created in your Will? A carefully prepared and customized irrevocable testamentary trust can protect trust assets from creditor claims and claims in divorce. Passing property through certain trusts can also have tax advantages and help preserve assets for future generations. Under the right circumstances, a well-drafted trust can add significant value to an estate plan.
Revocable Trusts (aka: Living Trusts)
It may be advisable to place your assets into a trust during your lifetime. The decision to do so depends on your unique personal and financial circumstances. A qualified attorney can analyze whether a revocable trust is right for you and your family. If a revocable living trust adds value to your estate plan, an experienced attorney can create the trust and help in the crucial work of trust funding.
Fiduciaries: Executors, Trustees, and Guardians
Who will you trust to carry out your wishes? You will need to appoint an executor to administer your estate after your death as well a trustee if you create any trusts in your Will. You should also appoint guardians for your minor or incapacitated children.
Choosing trustworthy and capable people to serve as fiduciaries is one of the most important decisions of the estate planning process. As an experienced attorney, Laura can talk through the options with you for these critical decisions.
Beneficiary Designations for Life Insurance Policies and Retirement Accounts
What if most of the wealth you will pass to your loved ones is in a retirement account or payable through a life insurance policy? These assets are non-probate assets that are not controlled by your Will. Many people do not realize this fact. You need to revisit the beneficiary designations of these assets to ensure that the benefits upon death are coordinated with your overall estate plan. Laura can help to ensure these assets align appropriately with your plan.
Lifetime Disability Documents
What happens if you can no longer take care of yourself or your financial affairs? You have the opportunity to plan ahead for incapacity through a variety of lifetime disability documents, including:
- Statutory Durable Power of Attorney
- Medical Power of Attorney
- Directive to Physicians and Family (sometimes referred to as a “Living Will”)
- HIPAA Authorization
- Appointment of Guardian for Minors or Incapacitated Adults