For many Houstonians, the fear of the unknown health, social, economic, and financial challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic are prompting intense concern and anxiety. If you are self-isolating or quarantining at home, you probably are already creating your new “normal” schedules, researching online resources, and creating ways to find comfort for yourself and your family.
Experts have suggested that in addition to movie marathons and being on social media, the time at home can be used to accomplish those things that you have been putting off, like spring cleaning and taxes. We suggest that now is a good time to revisit your estate planning goals. Now, more than ever, we’re experiencing the magnitude of just how essential planning for your future is. While most of these Coronavirus events are out of our control, we CAN plan for how important decisions about our estate and our health will be dealt with in the case of the unexpected. As experienced Houston estate planning and elder law attorneys, all too often we see the dangers and unexpected consequences of not planning.
The bare bones of an estate plan start with a Will. Every adult needs a last will and testament, drafted by an experienced attorney, that will guide your executor to distribute your assets as YOU want them. The next minimum requirement for pre-planning are your powers of attorneys. If you become incapacitated or disabled, your financial (durable) and medical powers of attorneys can empower the right people to legally act for you, make transactions, consent to treatment, and potentially save time, money and even your life.
Additionally, there are more documents that are very helpful for you and your family, such as declarations of guardian for yourself and minor children, directive to physicians, and HIPAA authorizations. For pet lovers, you can go as far as creating pet trusts and powers of attorneys for pets should you feel so inclined. We recommend families take a holistic approach to view their needs, immediate goals, and future goals. In the end, some planning is better than no plan, and now is a great time to settle your thoughts and get your estate plan written down.
In the event you die without a will (intestate), Texas’ intestate laws dictate the beneficiaries of your assets, and a Probate judge will determine who is appointed to distribute those assets and will get custody of your minor children.
Our estate planning team at McCulloch & Miller, PLLC is still open and we are dedicated to working with you through this strange time and we are ready and prepared to take initial consultations remotely, either telephonically or by Zoom meetings. Zoom, email, and conference calls are all effective tools for discussing estate planning matters. We’re prepared to do most of the legwork before any in-person signing is scheduled as well in order to protect any at risk individuals and our staff.
Take advantage of some available time and schedule a consultation to see if our estate planning firm is the right fit for you. You can call us at 713-333-8900 or click here to start our potential client process.