With an estate planning checklist, you can determine what is important to you, and what type of arrangements fits your unique needs.
Let’s start with the basics.
Texas Estate Planning Basics
There is often a lot of confusion about who needs an estate plan, and who does not.
Part of the confusion is the use of the word “estate.”
People often think of “estates” as grand properties with sprawling manicured lawns.
The reality is, an estate is the collective sum of an individual’s net worth, which means everyone should have an estate plan.
The first step in creating your estate plan is to inventory its composition.
Grab a pen and pad, or your favorite electronic device, and begin outlining all your:
- Property, including your home and the land it is on
- Possessions, including cars, boats, jet skis, artwork, or jewelry
- Financial securities, including retirement savings, 401k, stocks, or bonds
- Cash, including checking and savings accounts
- Life insurance policies, including their cash value and death beneficiaries
- Other assets you own or have a controlling interest in
Likewise, you will need to outline your debts, which could include outstanding balances on your mortgage, vehicle loans, student or other loans, and credit cards.
Once you have a complete inventory of your estate, you can determine which type of plan will help achieve your goals.
Which Estate Planning Documents Fit Your Needs?
Once you have a comprehensive inventory of your estate, it is time to determine which legal documents are best served to protect and distribute the assets of the estate.
Wills and Trusts help provide privacy, avoid probate, and protect assets that will allow beneficiaries to inherit the estate outright or in periodic disbursements, based on your wishes.
To determine which estate plan is right for you, contact our skilled Texas attorneys today to outline your complete wishes, so you can begin implementing legal solutions to match.
Choosing Your Personal Representative, Trustee, or Agent
Once you know which type of estate plan is best for your unique needs, it is time to choose who will serve as your personal representative, trustee, or agent.
Likewise, you will want to appoint a Medical Power of Attorney who can make healthcare decisions for you, should you ever become incapacitated or incompetent.
The medical power of attorney can be specified in a living will, which outlines what healthcare actions should be taken if you can no longer make decisions due to incapacity or incompetence.
When choosing who to have served as the personal representative, durable power of attorney, or agent, it is best to choose someone who is organized, has some financial knowledge, and understands your complete wishes as they are outlined in your will or trust.
How Stepp & Sullivan Help You With Your Estate Plan Checklist?
At Stepp & Sullivan, P.C., our Texas estate planning attorneys provide our clients with the knowledge, experience, and resources they need to fully understand the differences in estate plans, so they can choose a legal path that fulfills their wishes.
Further, we can explain the roles of personal representatives, trustees, and agents, so you know what each person is required to do, should they need to fulfill their decision-making role in the future.
If you would like to create an estate plan or amend an existing plan to match changes that have occurred in your life, contact us our experienced estate planning lawyers in Texas today at 713-336-7200, or online to learn more about your legal rights and options, so you can move forward with confidence.