Round Rock Estate Planning Attorney
Capable Legal Representation in Pflugerville and Throughout Texas
Everyone should consider what will happen to their estate once they pass away. You will need to take specific legal steps to establish enforceable instructions and protect any preferences you may have.
At The J.D. Wilson Law Firm, we are committed to helping you protect yourself, your loved ones, and your legacy. Our Round Rock estate planning lawyer offers personalized guidance and is prepared to accommodate any specific needs you may have. If you are new to estate planning, we can review your goals and help you understand your legal options. We can also help you modify and augment existing estate plans.
Call (512) 355-1161 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation with an estate planning attorney near you. We offer flexible payment plans and provide our legal services in English and Portuguese.
Why Everyone Needs an Estate Plan in Texas
Some people mistakenly believe that estate planning is reserved for the wealthy or elderly. The truth is that every adult should take the time to create an estate plan.
Some benefits of having an estate plan in Texas include:
- Organized Distribution of Assets: Estate planning provides an organized and clear way to distribute your assets upon your death. It ensures that your wealth goes to the intended beneficiaries according to your wishes, avoiding potential disputes and confusion.
- Protection for Families: Estate planning is particularly important for families with young children or blended families. It allows you to designate guardians for minor children, ensuring their care and well-being in case of your untimely passing.
- Avoiding Intestate Succession Laws: Without an estate plan, your assets may be subject to intestate succession laws, which determine how assets are distributed if no will or estate plan is in place. Having an estate plan allows you to have control over who receives your assets, rather than relying on default laws.
- Minimizing Taxes: Estate planning can help minimize estate taxes and other tax liabilities, allowing you to retain more wealth for your beneficiaries. Proper estate planning strategies, such as establishing trusts, can help protect assets and reduce tax burdens.
- Avoiding Probate: An estate plan can help your loved ones avoid the probate process, which can be time-consuming, costly, and public. By utilizing tools like trusts and beneficiary designations, you can transfer assets directly to beneficiaries, bypassing probate.
- Maintaining Privacy: Unlike probate, which is a public process, estate planning allows you to maintain privacy regarding your personal and financial affairs. This can be particularly important for individuals who value confidentiality.
- Providing for Special Needs or Disabled Dependents: Estate planning allows you to make provisions for the care and financial support of dependents with special needs or disabilities. It ensures that they are provided for even after your passing.
- Peace of Mind: Having an estate plan in place provides peace of mind, knowing that your wishes will be carried out and your loved ones will be taken care of according to your instructions.
Passing away without an estate plan can result in serious consequences. If you pass away without a valid will, you will have no say in how your assets are distributed. Your estate will be subject to Texas’s intestacy laws, which distributes assets to your most immediate surviving relatives.
It's important to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney in Texas to understand the specific benefits that apply to your unique circumstances and to ensure that your estate plan aligns with state laws and regulations.
When Should You Start Estate Planning?
No matter your age, health, or financial situation, it is in your best interest to explore your estate planning options as early as possible. We can assess your circumstances and advise what tools can help achieve your objectives while providing valuable peace of mind.
Many types of estate planning instruments are available. Some will be used to protect your estate after you have passed away, while others will prepare for the possibility of incapacity. Depending on your goals and situation, there are a variety of estate planning documents that you can use to create an estate plan in Texas.
Our Round Rock estate planning attorney can assist you with:
- Wills. Your last will and testament serves as the foundation of your estate plan. With this document, you can decide who will receive your assets, who will serve as your personal representative, and who will care for your minor children. Keep in mind this document becomes a matter of public record during the probate process. Your will must also be witnessed and signed in order to be enforceable. Our team can review your will and ensure it is appropriately validated.
- Trusts. A trust is an asset management vehicle that can be used to avoid probate and more efficiently facilitate the distribution of estate property. When you create a trust, you appoint a trustee to manage trust assets for the benefit of the trust’s beneficiaries. Unlike wills, trusts are private and offer more flexibility and customization. Trust assets are also not typically subject to probate. Several different types of trusts exist: Revocable trusts are modifiable and can function like wills, while irrevocable trusts are not modifiable and are generally used to achieve asset protection and limit the impact of estate taxes. We can help you create trusts from the ground up and can also assist with trust administration.
- Advance Directives. You will want a say in your medical care if you become hospitalized and incapacitated. In an advance directive, you can specify the types of treatment you want to receive or not receive. A medical power of attorney can use your advance directive to ensure your wishes are honored.
- Powers of Attorney. By appointing a power of attorney, you give a trusted agent the authority to act on your behalf within a scope you define. You can also specify that your agent’s authority will only trigger when you become incapacitated. You may wish to appoint a financial power of attorney to manage your affairs and a medical power of attorney to advocate for you in healthcare settings. We can help you draft and execute authorization documents.
- Probate. When someone passes away, their estate must be settled through the probate process. A personal representative of the deceased will need to notify heirs and creditors, inventory the estate, file taxes, pay debts, resolve conflicts, and distribute assets to beneficiaries. Probate procedures can easily overwhelm an already-grieving loved one, but we are prepared to assist with all elements of estate administration.
How Do I Make Sure My Minor Children are Taken Care of?
There are many ways to ensure that your children are protected and taken care of. Here are several ways to take care of your kids with an estate plan.
Naming a guardian in your will, can protect your minor children in the event of your death or incapacitation. Typically a guardian should be someone who you trust to take on the responsibility of raising your children.
Creating a trust can ensure that your assets are used to benefit your children. A trust will also protect and hold your assets for your minor children until they reach a specific age or accomplish certain milestones.
Updating Your Estate Plan in Texas
Your estate plan should not remain set in stone. It must evolve as your life evolves. Our Round Rock estate planning lawyer can help you review your documents and make any necessary changes.
You should consider reviewing and updating your estate plan if:
- You get married or divorced
- You have a child
- You move to a new state
- Your financial circumstances dramatically change
- Your relationship with a beneficiary, personal representative, or trustee changes
Even if no significant life events occur, you should still look over your plan every few years. Our Round Rock estate planning lawyers at The J.D. Wilson Law Firm can assist you with this effort and is prepared to meet all of your estate planning needs.