Estate Planning Attorney in Humble, TX
The Law Office of Patricia Billings provides you with superior legal representation
Estate planning is one of the most crucial steps take to to protect your loved ones in the event of your death. In addition, estate planning goes beyond just creating a Will. A successful plan also includes provisions allowing your family members to access or control your assets should you be unable to do so yourself.
There are five items every estate plan should include:
A Will is a vital component of every estate plan, even if you don’t have a substantial amount of assets. A Will ensures that property is distributed according to your wishes. It allows you to name a person you trust to oversee the management and distribution of your assets. It also allows you to appoint a guardian for your children. Without a will, your assets will be distributed according to Texas law rather than to the beneficiaries of your choice.
2. Texas Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney allows you to appoint someone you trust to act as an agent to manage your finances if you are no longer capable of managing them yourself (e.g., if you become temporarily incapacitated). That person also has the authority to deal with third parties, such as banks, on your behalf. If you become incapacitated and do not have a Durable Power of Attorney in place, a court ordered guardianship may be required.
3. Texas Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney is a document that enables you to designate someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event that you become unconscious or mentally incapable of making those decisions yourself.
4. Texas Directive to Physicians
A directive to physicians (also known as a living will) is a document that allows you to set forth the end-of-life decisions that you want made on your behalf should you ever become unable to make these decisions yourself. In your living will you may instruct your physicians not to use artificial methods to extend your life in the event you are diagnosed with an irreversible or terminal condition. In addition, you may appoint someone of your choosing, an agent, to make health care decisions for you when you can no longer make them for yourself. That agent is also allowed to access your medical information.
5. Designation of Guardian in Event of Need
When someone does not have a medical power of attorney or durable power of attorney and becomes incapacitated (that person is known as the “ward”), a court may appoint a guardian to act on behalf of that person. There are two types of guardians: (i) the guardian of the estate, who is responsible for managing the property and financial affairs of the ward; and (ii) guardian of the person, who is responsible for providing care, supervision, food, clothing and shelter for the ward and may also consent to medical treatment on the ward’s behalf. An individual may pre-designate a guardian of the estate and guardian of the person by completing a Designation of Guardian in Advance of Need. If such a designation has not been made, the presumption is that the individual’s spouse and, then, next of kin, have priority for the designation.