Estate Planning Attorneys in The Woodlands, TX
Considering Creating a Trust or Will?
We hear a lot of different reasons why people do not think they need to prepare a will or revocable trust, including:
- I don’t need an estate plan - I’m single
- I don’t have any kids
- I don’t own much.
Even if you are young or healthy, there is no way to predict the future. Estate planning is much more than just having a will or trust. Without an estate plan, the intestacy laws of the State of Texas determine who will inherit your property. Most of the time, it’s exactly who you would leave your property to anyway. However, there is so much more to consider other than who inherits your property.
Why Should I Create an Estate Plan?
There are countless reasons estate planning is important, but some of the top reasons include:
- Avoiding chaos / discord among those left behind
- Minimizing estate taxes
- Avoiding probate
- Protecting children from mismanaging their inheritance
- Asset protection for beneficiaries
- Concerns about outliving their retirement
- Asset protection for yourself
- Providing for a special needs family member
- Ensuring that philanthropic / charitable gifting goals are met
- Business formation and entity planning
- Coordination of beneficiary designations on life insurance and retirement plans with your estate plan
- Recent marriage / divorce or other change in personal life circumstances
In larger estates, estate planning is extremely important in minimizing estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes. The IRS sets limits on how much each person can gift during their lifetime or pass at death without taxing the estate. Proper planning using testamentary trusts inside your will can reduce the potential estate tax liability for your estate, which means more of your wealth is passed on to future generations.
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Do I Need an Attorney for My Estate Planning?
If you have assets and properties that will need to be protected after you are gone, there is nothing that should stop you from pursuing estate planning. We highly recommend you do so with the guidance of our estate planning lawyers at Dossey & Jones, PLLC, located in Montgomery County, Texas.
We can handle all types of estate cases for individuals in The Woodlands, Spring, Conroe, Montgomery, Houston and surrounding areas. Paige H. Jones is a board-certified estate planning and probate specialist with the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Jim Dossey has an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of management. Our firm has what it takes to get the best possible results!
How Can Wills & Trusts Benefit My Family?
Wills and trusts are the foundational documents for estate planning. Fundamentally, they describe how your assets are distributed to your heirs when you pass away.
A last will and testament is a legal document detailing who is authorized to administer the decedent's estate, as well as how assets are to be distributed. Having a last will and testament can remove a great deal of complication and stress from the probate administration process for the beneficiaries.
When a person passes away and does not leave a will or trust, probate becomes much more complex, expensive, and time-consuming. In our experience, probate without a will can be 3-4 times as expensive and will take much longer than if the decedent had a will. Additionally, if you have specific ideas about how your assets should be distributed, such as giving a specific gift to a child or charity, this will not happen unless you have a will or trust.
What Types of Trusts Exist?
As noted above, there are many different types of trusts available. Some trusts, called inter vivos trusts, are created during your lifetime. Other trusts, called testamentary trusts, are created within your will. Selection of the proper type of trust depends on your specific circumstances.
Examples of common trusts include:
- Revocable Living Trusts (RLT)
- Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILIT)
- Gift Trusts for children and grandchildren
- Supplemental Needs Trusts for beneficiaries with special needs
- Contingent Trusts in a Will
- Lifetime Trusts for children
- Charitable Leads Trusts
- Charitable Remainder Trusts
- Qualified Domestic Trust (QDOT) for gifts to non-US citizens
- Bypass Trusts (also known as Credit Shelter or A/B Trusts)
- Gun Trusts
Create a trust to safeguard your future. Contact us right away!
What are Powers of Attorney?
Any comprehensive estate plan also includes planning for incapacity during your lifetime. In the event you are unable to handle your financial affairs or make your own medical decisions, a well-drafted power of attorney will name an agent to act on your behalf and will ease the burden on your family. If you become incapacitated and do not have a power of attorney in place beforehand, your family may be required to establish a guardianship with the courts.
Once you are incapacitated, it is too late to sign a power of attorney.
There are several types of powers of attorney that may benefit you, such as:
- Durable Power of Attorney for Property
- Medical Power of Attorney
- Physician's Directive (aka "Living Will")
- HIPAA Release