Establishing a comprehensive estate plan helps to ensure that your wishes are carried out in the event you become incapacitated or pass away.
If you die without a valid will, the process of opening an estate in probate court can be much more complicated and expensive.
The Lemus Law Firm prepares estate planning documents such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, directive to physicians, designations of guardian, and others. Having these documents in place can reduce disputes between family members and reduce the cost of proceedings before the probate courts.
When you seek guidance in planning your estate, you take the necessary step to ensure your chosen beneficiaries inherit your assets and that your legacy and wishes are carried out.
WILLS & ESTATE PLANNING SERVICES
Wills and Trusts
A will is a legal document that sets forth how you want your property and assets to be distributed after you die. You can appoint a trusted individual as executors and trustees in your will who will make sure the property is distributed according to your wishes. You can also designate guardians for your underage children in the event of death. Without a will, your property passes according to Texas laws of intestate succession, which may differ greatly from your wishes. A properly drafted will can reduce the cost of the probate process and ensure more of your assets end up in the hands of your chosen beneficiaries instead of in the hands of your legal heirs under Texas law and the attorneys.
A trust is a legal entity into which your property and assets may be transferred. Trusts may be set forth in your will or established while you are still living. There are many different types of trusts. The Lemus Law Firm provides consultations to determine which type of trust will meet the client’s needs based on each client’s circumstances. Some of the different types of trusts that can be established are testamentary trusts, irrevocable trusts, revocable living trusts, and special needs trusts.
Financial Power of Attorney (Statutory Durable Power of Attorney)
A statutory durable power of attorney allows you to designate a trusted individual to act as your attorney-in-fact or agent with regard to your financial affairs as you specifically direct. You can choose very specific powers to give to your agent or very broad powers. Additionally, you can decide for the statutory durable power of attorney to become effective immediately or when you become incapacitated. The Lemus Law Firm makes sure each client’s circumstances and examined and they are informed of the pros, cons and legal ramifications of having a financial power of attorney in place.
The types of powers you may give your agent include: real property transactions; tangible personal property transactions; stock and bond transactions; commodity and option transactions; banking and other financial institution transactions; business operating transactions; insurance and annuity transactions; estate, trust, or other beneficiary transactions; claims and litigation; benefits from social security, Medicare, Medicaid, or other governmental programs or civil or military service; retirement plan transactions, tax matters and digital assets and the content of an electronic communication.
Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney allows you to appoint a trusted individual to make medical decisions for you in the event you become incapacitated or are unable to make decisions for yourself. You can also designate alternate individuals in the event your appointee is not able or not willing to serve.
Directive to Physicians
A directive to physicians is designed to specify your preference should you become unable to make decisions for yourself regarding your medical care and treatment. Commonly referred to as a “living will,” a directive to physicians makes it possible for you to instruct physicians and family members about your medical care in the event you have a terminal or irreversible condition and are unable to communicate. The directive also provides you an opportunity to give direction regarding administering or withholding life-supporting treatment in certain situations.
Designations of Guardian
A designation of guardian can be prepared to indicate to the Court your wishes as to who should be your legal guardian to take care of your personal needs and finances in the event you should become incapacitated and it is necessary for a legal guardianship to be established. In the event there are individuals you wish to exclude from acting as your guardian, you can also make those wishes known in this document.
The hope is that with the other documents prepared as part of your estate plan a legal guardianship can be avoided. However, sometimes a legal guardianship is necessary for various reasons or a guardianship proceeding may be initiated by a family member or other interested person. Having a designation of guardian can ensure that the Court considers your wishes when you can no longer make those wishes known.
A stand-alone designation of guardian can also be prepared to appoint a guardian for your minor children should you pass away. This designation can also be included in your will. Having such a designation can clear up the confusion for your loved ones and provide stability for your minor children in the face of tragic circumstances.