Most people do not want to think about the end of their lives, and as a result, many people avoid engaging in estate planning. However, it is wise for anyone who wishes to protect their health and assets to take these precautions. There are numerous estate planning tools that a person can use to work toward meeting their goals, and a skillful attorney can advise you on which legal instruments may be appropriate in your case. The Dallas Fort Worth estate planning lawyers at Powell Law Offices will work with you to develop a plan that aligns with your goals. Our offices are located in Grapevine and McKinney, and we help clients throughout Dallas and Tarrant Counties.Wills
Wills are one of the most commonly employed estate planning tools. Wills allow you to dictate how your property will be distributed in the event of your death, provide who should care for your minor children, and name an executor to administer your estate. If you die without a will, your property will be disbursed in accordance with the Texas intestacy laws, and the process of dividing your estate likely will be lengthy and complicated.
In Texas, anyone who is of sound mind and either 18 years old, legally married, or a member of the armed forces can draft a will. At least two credible witnesses who are 14 or older must attest to the will and must sign the will in the presence of the drafter. Wills do not need to be notarized in Texas, but a party can choose to notarize a will to make the eventual probate process more efficient. Our estate planning attorneys can help Dallas Fort Worth residents ensure that they craft a thorough, enforceable will.Living Wills and Powers of Attorney
In addition to a will bequeathing property, a person can draft a living will, which is often known as an advance directive. This dictates the care that doctors should provide in the event that the person is terminally ill. Living wills may be helpful for avoiding conflicts between family members who disagree regarding the life-saving measures that a person should receive.
Alternatively, a person can grant someone else power of attorney, which allows the grantee to make certain decisions for the person in the event that the person becomes mentally or physically incapacitated. A power of attorney can be broad or limited and can apply in a variety of circumstances. For instance, a person may be granted a limited power of attorney to make certain choices or for a specified period of time. In some cases, a person may be granted a durable power of attorney, which allows the person to make decisions for the grantor if the grantor is physically or mentally incapacitated. A power of attorney may grant the authority to make financial decisions, health care decisions, or both.Trusts
Our Dallas Fort Worth estate planning attorneys also can assist with the process of creating a trust. While many people with estates with a significant value create trusts to protect their wealth and avoid tax penalties, trusts are not only for the wealthy. For example, if a person has a child or a relative with special needs, a special needs trust can help ensure that the person receives adequate care once his or her caretakers pass away, without waiving the person’s right to public benefits.
If someone wishes to create a trust, they must have the ability to convey property to the trust, and they must identify the property and place it in the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries of the trust, who must be identified by name. There are other rules with which the trust must comply as well. Creating a trust can be complicated, and it is prudent for anyone who wishes to develop a trust to seek the assistance of an attorney.Consult a Capable Texas Attorney to Discuss Your Estate Planning Options
Regardless of whether you have limited or substantial assets, it is wise to develop an estate plan, and you should consult a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer in the Dallas Fort Worth area. The attorneys at Powell Law Offices are proficient in helping people implement the tools necessary to meet their estate planning goals and will guide you in crafting a plan to protect your interests and assets. We can be reached through our form online or at (972) 584-9382 to schedule a free and confidential appointment.