Estate planning empowers you to make choices about your own future and about the future of your loved ones. With a proper estate plan, you can not only plan for contingencies in your life, but also leave a legacy for your loved ones and make sure they are provided for and taken care of even after you are gone. With help from an experienced estate planning attorney in Austin, you can bring more predictability to your financial future.
Key Elements of Estate Planning in Austin, TX
The major components of a comprehensive estate plan in Austin, TX include:
A last will and testament – more commonly referred to as a will – is a legal document that serves two key purposes. First, it allows you to specify how your possessions and assets are to be divided and distributed after your death. Second, it allows you to nominate a guardian for your minor children as well as special needs children.
It should be noted that a will – in and of itself – cannot help avoid probate. As any probate law firm can tell you, if your estate plan only consists of a will, your estate will most likely go through probate after your death – especially if you leave a substantial amount of assets behind. In order to be able to avoid probate, you should create a trust.
A trust is a legal entity that is designed for the purposes of asset protection, asset management, and asset distribution. You can create a trust, transfer your possessions and assets into it, and specify how they should be managed. You can choose to nominate yourself or any other trustworthy person as the trustee. You are also required to nominate a successor trustee – the person who will step into your shoes and manage the trust in the event of your incapacitation or death.
One of the biggest advantages of a trust is that it allows you to bypass the probate process and pass on your assets to your beneficiaries directly, thus saving a great deal of time and money for all the parties involved. A trust should also be considered from the perspective of estate tax planning, corporate planning, or business succession with guidance from a reputable estate planning practice.
Depending on your estate planning needs, you can either set up a living trust (which can be amended or revoked) or an irrevocable trust (which cannot be amended or revoked). An experienced Texas estate planning lawyer can help you decide which one is the right choice for you.
A living trust is easy to set up, easy to amend, and easy to revoke. You can make as many changes as you want during your lifetime. After you are gone, your assets will be managed or divided and distributed according to your instructions. However, a living trust cannot protect your assets against tort claims and creditors.
An irrevocable trust cannot be amended or revoked once it is set up. Once you transfer your assets to the trust, you cannot have any ownership interest or control over the assets. It can protect your assets against tort claims and creditors. Similarly, it can also help you avoid or eliminate estate taxes to a great extent.
#3. Medical Power of Attorney
A legal document that allows you to nominate and authorize a person to make medical or healthcare decisions on your behalf in case you are unable to do so due to incapacitation or any other medical reason. Financial and medical powers can be given to someone you trust through a power of attorney.
#4. Financial Power of Attorney
A legal document that allows you to nominate and authorize a person to make financial decisions on your behalf in case you are unable to do so due to incapacitation or any other medical reason. A financial power of attorney should be a part of your asset protection planning strategy.
Experienced Estate Planning Attorneys in Austin, Texas
At Kelly Legal Group, we are committed to providing the highest quality estate planning services for our clients at a cost they can afford. We can assess your needs, understand your goals, and create a comprehensive plan to make sure your assets are protected, managed, and passed on to your beneficiaries exactly as you wish.
Our probate and estate administration attorneys have an in-depth understanding of Texas estate planning law, elder law, and family law, and have decades of combined experience in providing estate and contingency planning and trust attorney services.
To discuss your estate and contingency planning needs with one of our Austin estate planning lawyers, call our law firm today at 512-505-0053 or contact us online and schedule a free consultation.