What are The Important Estate Planning Documents I Should Consider?
As mentioned above, there are a number of different estate planning tools and documents that should be considered when putting together an estate plan. The following are some of the key estate planning tools that you should discuss with your attorney:
A will can be a great starting point for an estate plan and a means of expressing your final wishes.
Also known as a “living will,” this document specifies your wishes regarding your healthcare treatment if you are unable to communicate those decisions when you are ill or incapacitated. This allows you to make these decisions when you are of sound mind and health, and you will save your family from having to make them for you when you are unable to communicate your wishes yourself.
Generally speaking, there are two types of trusts that you can have as part of your estate plan: a revocable and an irrevocable trust. A revocable trust may be revised after you sign it, while an irrevocable trust may not. There are tax and other advantages that come with an irrevocable trust that are worth discussing with your estate planning attorney.
Typically, you would name yourself as the trustee of your trust and a successor trustee to handle the trust according to your wishes following your incapacitation or death. Trusts help you pass along assets without forcing the beneficiaries of the trust to go through probate, which means the terms of your trust can be kept confidential.
Powers of Attorney
Powers of attorney are another essential aspect of a comprehensive estate plan. There are a few different types, but in general, establishing a power of attorney allows you to grant someone the power to transact business, manage your finances, or make healthcare decisions for you if you are incapacitated or otherwise unable to. Powers of attorney can be general or highly specific, depending on the circumstances. For example, giving someone the power to only manage your investments if you are unable to, versus providing someone with full fiduciary responsibility over your finances if you become incapaciated.
Special Needs Plan
If you have a child, spouse, or other dependent with physical, developmental, or emotional challenges, your estate plan can provide for their ongoing care after you are gone. A special needs trust can fund a dependent’s ongoing care and help preserve their benefits, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security Disability.
Business Succession Plan
If you have built a business that you would like to pass on to a family member or sell and have the assets added to your estate when you’re gone, you should consider a business succession plan. You can name a family member who is qualified to run the business as your successor or find and groom someone else to assume the role. You can also outline a plan to sell the business and use the proceeds for your retirement or have them added to your estate when you die. You can also use a business succession plan to document a strategy to keep the business viable even when markets change.
Get Guidance from An Estate Planning Attorney Today!
At the end of the day, a comprehensive estate plan allows you to have your wishes carefully documented and carried out when you are no longer able to make those decisions for yourself. Since you cannot be sure when that time will come, it is never too early or too late to work with an experienced and knowledgeable Texas estate planning attorney.
Making those decisions now will not only give you peace of mind, but also allow your loved ones to grieve without the stress and anxiety of trying to make decisions on your behalf or stress over how to handle your estate when you’re gone.
Attorney Chelsea Redding has spent years helping clients better understand how a comprehensive estate plan can benefit them. She can provide reliable legal guidance every step of the way, enabling you to make important decisions so you can craft a plan that aligns your wishes with the requirements of the law. If you or someone you know is looking for help with an estate plan, don’t wait. Call or reach out to the Redding Law Office today for help.