For many, estate planning can be an uncomfortable topic requiring individuals to consider their mortality. While facing the fleeting nature of life can be difficult, estate planning can bring financial and emotional peace to an otherwise daunting topic. Consulting with experienced Texas trusts and estate lawyers can streamline this process and help individuals maintain autonomy over their decisions.
A person’s estate can include their:
- Real estate
- Securities and stocks
- Personal property
- Business interests
- Retirement plans
- Life insurance benefits
Although some people believe that estate planning is for the wealthy, in reality, almost everyone needs an estate plan. Estate plans are essential for those who:
- Want to distribute their estate according to their wishes;
- Have assets that may make their beneficiaries responsible for high estate taxes;
- Want to plan their distributions; or
- Have heirs that may require financial assistance.
An attorney can help individuals design an effective and legally binding plan that preserves the value of their assets, reduces taxes, ensures that beneficiaries secure what the testator intended, and protects the testator’s privacy.
Many estate planning questions might make the testator uncomfortable; however, contemplating these questions can avoid lengthy and unnecessary legal battles. Some questions, for instance, include:
Who will raise children if the testator dies?
While some people wait until their children are adults to avoid naming a guardian, this practice can have disastrous consequences in the event of a tragedy. In many cases, those who fail to name a guardian will leave that critical decision to the court. It is best to address this instead of leaving it to a stranger.
What happens if the guardian dies with the family in a common disaster
This worst-case scenario is, thankfully, an unusual occurrence. However, unusual does not mean impossible. Addressing this remote possibility is vital to completing an estate plan.
Are any genetic materials preserved for later, such as fertilized embryos, eggs, or sperm?
There are many legal and practical implications of frozen or otherwise preserved genetic materials. An estate planning attorney can discuss the interplay between living and potential beneficiaries may impact an estate plan.
In addition, asking specific questions to oneself can help clarify their current financial goals with their beneficiaries in mind. Some relevant questions include:
- What would I change to bring greater financial peace to my life?
- How do my financial contributions impact my relationship with others?
- In the past year, how many charitable contributions have I made?
Although it is advisable to consider the answers to these essential questions before meeting with an estate planning attorney, an experienced lawyer can help people work through these considerations.
Contact a Texas Estate Planning Attorney Today
Estate planning is an important endeavor that can provide financial and emotional peace to individuals and their loved ones. An experienced Houston estate planning attorney at McCulloch Miller, PLLC, can assist you in discussing your current and future financial needs. In addition to advocating for aging adults, we help multigenerational families create life care plans. We have assisted countless families in completing advance directives, charitable planning, digital assets, estate and gift tax planning, gifting to grandchild, holographic wills, last will and testaments, power of attorney documents, and special needs planning. Contact our office for a consultation at 713-903-7879.