The distribution of your estate at your death may constitute the largest single transfer of your property. It is an opportunity to provide for your loved ones and ensure that your desires rather than state inheritance laws govern the distribution of your estate. Moreover, without a will or trust, your estate is subject to the expense of a court determination of who are your legal heirs and court-supervised administration of your estate.
We never know when an accident or illness may strike. “There is no time like the present” to get personal affairs in order. Attorney Robert D. Hemphill can prepare key estate planning documents such as a will or trust to minimize probate expenses. A will or a trust agreement can insure that your property will pass to your loved ones and any other intended beneficiaries with a minimum of expense, inconvenience or tax liability. If the will is clearly drawn and properly executed, Texas law allows for probate to be completed without undue expense.
Intervivos or “living trusts”.
These trust agreements, executed during your life, can be used to authorize a person or institution you designate to act as trustee in accordance with terms of the trust to manage your assets and personal affairs in the event of temporary or permanent incapacity, thereby avoiding a potentially expensive and cumbersome guardianship proceeding.
Living Wills or Directive to Physicians/Medical Power of Attorney.
Likewise, you may provide advance written instructions (called a living will or directive to physicians) stating your preferences for medical care in the event you become unable to decide or express those preferences due to a terminal illness or irreversible coma. You may also execute a medical power of attorney designating persons authorized to make other medical decisions for you in the event of your incapacity.
Other personal and estate planning documents which everyone must consider, include:
- Durable power of attorney (either general or limited to specific purposes) to designate a trusted person to attend to your affairs (e.g. signing contracts or paying bills) during a period of disability or absence from the country;
- Guardianship declarations to designate a person to act as guardian for you or minor children in advance of the need.