Estate Planning Lawyer
Caperton Walling Law Firm, PLLC performs legal services for clients in and around Argyle, Bartonville, Bedford, Carrollton, Colleyville, Coppell, Copper Canyon, Dallas, Denton, Double Oak, Euless, Flower Mound, Fort Worth, Frisco, Grapevine, Hickory Creek, Highland Village, Hurst, Irving, Justin, Keller, Lake Dallas, Lantana, Lewisville, Little Elm, Marshall Creek, McKinney, Minters Chapel, North Richland Hills, Plano, Roanoke, Southlake, Trophy Club, The Colony, and Westlake.
Why do I need an Estate Plan?
Your estate consists of everything you own. This means money, stocks, jewelry, vehicles, and property. A well-rounded estate plan allows you to manage these things effectively while you’re alive, while also creating the instructions to arrange for the distribution of your assets after your passing.
It’s a common misconception that estate planning is something that only wealthy people need to think about. The truth is that everyone can benefit from estate planning. The process of estate planning goes beyond creating a will or a trust. It also includes detailed instructions on what should happen to your assets if you become unable to manage them yourself. In addition, an estate plan will include the details on how your personal care will be managed including healthcare decisions.
Creating an Estate Plan
Preparing for the future with estate planning can be intimidating and difficult, but it’s something everyone should do, regardless of the number of assets or income.
Kelly Walling of Caperton Walling Law Firm, PLLC provides compassionate assistance and advice in determining the type of legal documents needed to ensure your wishes are carried out when you pass away or are no longer able to act for yourself.
Did you know that in many cases, the state will decide where and how to distribute assets if no will or direction was left behind by the deceased? Additionally, did you know that a good estate plan can help minimize the tax burden of the estate on the remaining family members?
Kelly will ensure all your concerns are addressed in your estate planning documents, which typically involve:
- Advanced Directives
- Statutory Durable Power of Attorney
- Medical Power of Attorney
- Living Will
Your will acts as the cornerstone of your estate plan. In many instances, your will works as a set of instructions for your loved ones after your passing. Not only does it allow you to decide how your assets should be distributed, but it takes the burden of these decisions off of the shoulders of your loved ones.
With your will, you’re able to name beneficiaries, designate a guardian for any minor children, name someone to execute the will, and determine which assets go to which individuals. You can also establish a trust for heirs and beneficiaries. In addition, your will states your wishes when it comes to the disposition of your remains.
Many people feel as though they don’t need a will because their assets will automatically go to their surviving spouse and children. However, it’s important to understand that Texas has a statute that allows the state to dictate where your assets go if you lack a valid will. This means that your assets may not go to the people who you wanted to have them. In addition, avoiding creating a will can actually be more expensive than taking the time to create a proper will now.
A trust is quite similar to a will when it comes to the distribution of your assets after your passing. A trust is an agreement between three parties. The first person is the Trustor or creator of the arrangement. The Trustor appoints a Trustee who holds the legal title for the assets of the Beneficiary.
Trusts distribute your assets in a specific way while avoiding probate. There are multiple types of trusts depending on your wishes and the beneficiary’s needs. A trust is a great way to plan to provide for dependents who have special needs. They’re also commonly used to set money aside for college, children, or even grandchildren.
- Post-Divorce Modifications
- Appealing a Divorce Decree or Judgment
- Enforcement of court orders
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
Powers of Attorneys and Medical Directives
Designating someone as your Power of Attorney gives that person the power to make healthcare decisions for you, file taxes, sell property, and pay your bills should you become incapacitated.
A Durable Power of Attorney is someone who has your approval and the authority to manage financial affairs on your behalf. This includes signing checks, managing property, selling your home, changing retirement plan beneficiaries, and more.
A Medical Power of Attorney is the person you designate to make decisions regarding your health care when you’re unable to make the decisions for yourself.
It’s important to designate any power of attorney while you still have the mental capacity to make the decision. This allows you to put your trust in the person of your choice when it comes to these important matters.
Advantages of Estate Planning
The best time to plan your estate is now! There are so many advantages to getting started today.
Here are just a few of them:
- Clarify who gets your assets and how much.
- Choose who will care for minor children instead of leaving that up to the court judge.
- Set up a special needs trust for disabled loved ones.
- Determine who will manage your estate
- Engage in tax planning.
- Provide for business succession planning.
- Leave instructions for your digital assets.
- Provide a home for pets.
- Provide funeral instructions.
- Support favorite charitable causes and leave a legacy.
- Save time, money and stress for loved ones.
- Lower the potential for family disputes.
- Gain peace of mind.
Probate, Trust & Guardianship Litigation
An estate planning lawyer can also assist you when disputes arise relative to a trust, will, gift, or guardianship. At Caperton Walling Law Firm, PLLC we take our client’s wishes seriously and will address all disputes.
Call Caperton Walling Law Firm, PLLC today at (972) 839-1040 to learn more about the estate planning process or contact us online.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is the act of creating a plan to manage your estate both while you’re alive and after you’ve passed away. Every person can benefit from estate planning regardless of net worth.
Can I create my own estate plan?
While you can create your own estate plan and there are resources to do so online, it’s always better to work with trained and qualified estate planning attorneys to ensure things are done in accordance with all applicable laws. If your estate isn’t planned properly then your loved ones may be forced to endure ongoing issues with the distribution of your estate which can be both stressful and costly.
Do I need an estate plan if I hold all my assets jointly with another?
Yes. If you or the person you hold assets with find themselves in a situation where you’re the surviving owner of assets that were held jointly, then you’ll need to be able to transfer that asset in the event of your death. Having things arranged ahead of time saves a lot of work and heartache at a later date.
When should an estate plan be reviewed?
It’s a good idea to review your estate plan regularly. We suggest either quarterly or twice a year if things are actively changing. If your life is relatively the same from year to year then you may be able to get away with only reviewing your estate plan every two or three years. However, if something has changed then it’s a good idea to review your estate plan sooner than later.
Do I need a Will if I have a small estate?
Having a will, regardless of the size of your estate, will ensure your assets are divided in the way that you prefer. The state of Texas has a statute that allows the state the ability to dictate how your assets are distributed if you lack a will. This means that things may not be distributed in accordance with your wishes should you pass.
What are Trusts?
A trust is essentially an account that holds assets. They are typically used to hold assets for minors or adults who have been deemed incompetent.