Texas Estate Planning – is something that every person should consider, no matter how large or how small his or her estate is. Not only does estate planning make sure that your wishes are carried out after your death, but it makes the process of administering your estate easier on those that you leave behind. The kind of estate planning you need varies according to your intentions as well as the size of your estate.
Common Estate Planning Terms
A beneficiary is a party to inherit under the will. With regard to a trust, the beneficiaries are the equitable owners of the trust property.
Directive to Physicians:
The directive to physicians is a way for people to decide now how they would like to be treated if they are in a medical state requiring life-sustaining treatment. Not only does this document communicate your wishes to your physicians, it also communicates your wishes to your family.
Durable General Power of Attorney:
A durable general power of attorney is a document that allows one person to give financial decision making power to another person. The scope of this decision making power can be as broad or as narrow as the person giving the power wants. These documents go into effect immediately when signed, but do not take away the grantor’s right to make his or her own decisions.
Executor or Executrix:
An executor or executrix is a person named in a will who is charged with the duty of administering the decedent’s estate. Generally, the executor or executrix is the party who will be admitting the will to probate.
Medical Power of Attorney:
A medical power of attorney is a document that allows one person to give medical decision making power to another person. This document does not go into effect until such time as a doctor has declared the grantor to be incapacitated and thus unable to make medical decisions on their own behalf.
Testator or Testatrix:
The testator or testatrix is the person who executed the will.
A trust can be created during a person’s life or after death though a will. Creating a trust can help to reduce estate tax liability, protect property, or to avoid probate. A trust created through a will can dictate the terms of the disbursement of the estate. It is the duty of the trustee to administer the trust according to its terms and applicable law.
A trustee is a person or entity that is charged with administering a trust pursuant to the trust document and applicable law. The trustee holds legal title of the trust property for the beneficiaries of the trust.
A settlor is the creator of the trust.
A will is a document that directs how someone’s estate is to be distributed after their death.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why do I need a will?
While there are many answers to that question, the simplest is that a will allows you to dictate how your estate will be distributed after death. In many cases, an intestate administration (a probate without a will) does not divide your assets amongst your heirs as you would have wished. In addition, probating a will is generally an easier and less expensive process for your family than an intestate administration.
What do I do with my will?
A will needs to be kept in a safe place. This needs to be a place accessible and known by your loved ones. Our firm keeps a large fire-proof safe in which we keep many of our client’s wills. It is easier and less costly to probate the original of a will rather than a copy, so finding a safe place to keep it is important.
Why do I need a durable general power of attorney?
A durable general power of attorney is an inexpensive yet effective way to prepare for unforeseeable events in the future. Once a person becomes incapacitated and does not possess the mental capacity to execute a legal document, it is too late to execute a power of attorney. In such a case, the incapacitated person’s loved ones are forced to seek a guardianship which is often a costly and lengthy process.