What Goes Into Estate Planning?

People often think estate planning is only for the wealthy. A person who owns anything, like a vehicle, a bank account, or clothing, for example, can benefit from estate planning. If there is no plan and no Will in place when a person dies, their possessions are distributed according to the State of Texas. You can avoid that by creating an estate plan to ensure that your wishes are carried out for your beneficiaries

First Step in Estate Planning

When you come to meet with our estate planning attorneys at Martinez Legal, P.C., the first thing we do is talk about your assets and your goals. We will give you an estate planning packet and a questionnaire to fill out.  We will go over all assets in your name or held jointly with your spouse to discuss all options.

Estate Planning

After the initial meeting, we will ask for you go to home and go over this packet with your spouse or significant other. You will need to think seriously about how to answer the questionnaire. When you have filled it out and given it back to us, we can then begin drafting the documents needed.

If you are in a second or third marriage, it is important to identify your separate property. You can leave all your separate property to whomever you choose. A married person may only bequeath their half of the community property. This becomes important when one or both spouses have children from previous relationships that they want to inherit some of their property when they die.

Overview of Estate Planning Documents

There are several estate planning documents that you may need. Some examples include:

A Will. In your will, you name a person to be the executor. The executor makes sure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes as you expressed them in your will. If you die intestate, which means you left no will, Texas law determines how your assets are distributed.

A Power of Attorney. A power of attorney is where you give authority to someone you trust to make financial decisions for you if you are unable to make them for yourself.

A Living Will. In this document, you spell out exactly what you want for end-of-life care. Do you want every life-saving measure to be attempted, or do you want a DNR (do not resuscitate) order? Do you want a feeding tube to be inserted or not? And so forth. You also name someone you trust to make health care decisions for you when you are unable to make them for yourself.

Trust.  You may have minor children or grandchildren where a trust might be necessary.  This designates a Trustee to keep those items in trust until those minors reach an age you designate.

For answers to all your questions about estate planning, contact us at Martinez Legal P.C. Our goal is to help you prepare all the legal documents you need to protect yourself and to be sure that when you die, your assets are distributed according to your wishes.