Why is Estate Planning in Texas Important?
The savvy Texas estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law are committed to helping you address the important question of why estate planning in Texas important. Your estate plan represents your legacy and your unwavering commitment to your family and loved ones, which makes it exceptionally important.
The idea of delving into estate planning may seem overwhelming, but this is a common misconception. If you have a family – or loved ones – whom you want to continue providing for after your death, you have estate planning needs, and this answers the question of why is estate planning in Texas important. Your estate plan can also address the critical matter of who will be making important financial and medical decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to do so. You do not need a grandiose estate to have estate planning needs, and the dedicated estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC (512-505-2753) in Texas are committed to helping you address yours.
What Is Estate Planning?
Very generally, estate planning addresses the important matter of planning ahead for how your assets will be distributed upon your death – while also designating who will take over managing your financial and medical affairs if you are incapacitated. While a primary component of your estate plan will likely be your will, there is a lot more to it than that, and your estate plan can also include any combination of the following:
- Medical and legal powers of attorney
- Advance directives
- Special real estate deeds
The State of Texas provides a wealth of resources related to estate planning on its Texas State Law Library site.
Your Last Will and Testament: The First Step in Your Estate Plan
Generally, a Last Will and Testament (will) plays a primary role in one’s overall estate planning efforts. A will is a set of directions that are meant to be implemented upon your death. Until that time, however, your will has no legal power. Although your will does not bypass the probate process, it can expedite it and will help to ensure that your wishes are upheld (in accordance with the law). Your will can direct how your assets will be distributed upon your death and can address the matter of your minor children’s guardianship (in the event they lose both parents). If you die with no will, it is called dying intestate. Intestacy is a complicated and lengthy legal process that requires the court to engage in all the following:
- Classifying your assets as either marital or separate (if you are married at the time of your death)
- Identifying your heirs
- Distributing your assets according to the intestacy laws in the State of Texas
The idea that all your assets will simply pass to your spouse upon your death is not accurate. In Texas – if you die intestate – your spouse is entitled to half of your marital assets and to one-third of your separate property, and the rest will be subject to the state’s intestacy laws.
Your Estate Plan and Your Family
The fact of the matter is that your estate plan is a testament to your love and commitment to your family, and the time and effort you put into the planning process, while focusing on the circumstances that are specific to your situation, will have a profound effect on your family. This is the position you should take as you address the matter of your estate plan, and this is one of the most important answers to why is estate planning in Texas important.
Your Mission Statement
You recognize how important planning your estate is, but putting your objectives into words that are legally binding can be difficult. Although your goals are unique to you, they should encompass all the following:
- Maintaining control of your assets while you are living
- Taking care of yourself and of your loved ones if you are unable to do so due to incapacity
- Controlling how and when your assets will be distributed (and to whom)
- Minimizing your tax and court costs as much as possible
It is a tall order, but the seasoned Texas estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law are well positioned to help.
Your Living Trust
While having a will in place is likely an important element of your estate plan, the only way to adequately address each of your objectives is by also having a living or revocable trust. With a living trust, which specifically allocates how your assets will be distributed and when, you can move beyond the limitations of your will, which cannot avoid the probate process and cannot be kept private, in all the following ways:
- You can avoid the probate process, including any probate in other states (as applicable).
- You can avoid a potential guardianship by providing instructions for your care in the event you are incapacitated.
- You can determine at what age and under what circumstances your loved ones will inherit from you.
- You can be proactive in your efforts to sideline any disgruntlements on the part of your heirs.
Often, wills and living trusts go hand in hand. While a living trust is generally more robust than a will, any assets or any major life changes that it does not address will be left hanging and will need to be taken up during the probate process. Your will, on the other hand, can address the complete scope of your assets that are not included in your living trust, and while your will does not bypass the probate process, it can speed it along. Further, the matter of guardianship for your minor children (in the unlikely event they lose both their parents), should be addressed in your will.
An Experienced Texas Estate Planning Attorney Is on Your Side
Why is estate planning in Texas important? This is a complex question that generates a variety of answers, but they all focus on your ability to manage your own assets now and your ability to continue providing for your family and loved ones into the future. It is a challenging matter, but the thoughtful Texas estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law have the skill, experience, and legal insight to help you forge ahead with an estate plan that addresses your intentions and that affords you the peace of mind you are looking for. To learn more, please do not wait to contact or call us at 512-505-2753 today.