Answers To Common Questions About Estate Planning
Estate planning is governed by both federal law and each individual state. it is not only for the wealthy; rather, it can protect the property rights of people of all financial means. Testamentary documents outline the final disposition of your assets, medical decisions and the management of potential tax liability. The estate planning process requires sincere thought, and an attorney’s guidance can help you channel your thoughts productively. I am attorney Joseph Lassen, and I look forward to helping you put your wishes in writing, including your wishes for the following:
- The distribution of your possessions
- The control of your estate
- Preservation of the value of your assets
- Health care choices in times of incapacity
- Selection of one or more people with authority to manage your estate
- Funeral and burial arrangements or preferences
At The Law Firm of Joseph Lassen, we guide you through the estate planning process. We will begin by answering your questions such as those below.
What should a last will and testament contain and what powers does it have?
A will is a legal document that allows you to decide how your estate will be handled upon death and name a guardian for any children you may have at the time of your death. For residents of Texas, it is imperative to work with an estate planning attorney knowledgeable in laws of this state regarding probate and related issues. If relevant to your family situation, you can disinherit people to protect those you wish to bequeath your assets to.
At The Law Firm of Joseph Lassen, you will find tailored support to secure your wishes.
What can a power of attorney do for me?
A power of attorney gives another person the legal authority to act on your behalf. A durable power of attorney remains in effect should you become incapacitated and cannot act on your own behalf. Also known as a “health care proxy,” it grants your agent to make medical and end-of-life decisions. A durable power of attorney is sometimes combined with a living will to create a comprehensive advanced medical directive.
What is a living will or advance directive?
A living will provides specific directives about medical treatment should a person become too ill or mentally incapacitated to give informed consent or refusal of medical procedures. Having both a living will and a durable power of attorney helps ensure comprehensive legal protection for times when you are unable to manage your own affairs.
The Law Firm of Joseph Lassen has provided these services for many clients and can help ensure your requirements are spelled out and carried out according to your wishes.
What is asset protection planning?
Asset protection planning is a logical and legal method of setting up your assets to manage tax liability when death occurs. Typical methods include establishing joint property ownership, naming beneficiaries, creating revocable living trusts and being purposeful about gifts. This exercise is only part of an entire estate plan.
Discuss your goals and options in private with your estate planning attorney.
How do guardianships work?
When it becomes necessary to care for our loved ones who cannot care for themselves, legal guardianship is a necessary step where an estate planning attorney can play a significant role to achieve a desired solution, Documenting instructions for this eventuality in advance may provide a calmer atmosphere and smoother transition when the need for a guardianship occurs.
Please refer to the Texas Department of Human Services website for more information or contact The Law Firm of Joseph Lassen for customized legal solutions.
Does probate always apply to a decedent’s estate?
When a person dies and no will is left, or the will is incomplete and doesn’t address all the assets of an estate, then administrators are appointed to distribute the estate of the deceased according to the laws and statutes enacted by the state of Texas. This is when a person’s estate is said to be intestate and sent to probate. Even when there is a will, the decedent’s estate may need to go through probate when there are not assets that are in trusts or otherwise passed on through some other legal ways. The probate process can take months or years to complete. Due to the costly nature of probate, there are a number of legal methods used to avoid it, including the following:
- Joint property ownership
- Death beneficiaries
- Revocable living trusts
For more information on this topic, the American Bar Association website provides guidance on estate planning. An estate planning attorney offers more personalized advice on estate plans that cover all the necessary details to avoid Texas probate courts and smooth the transferring of assets after a death in the family.
How Can I Get Answers To My Unique Questions?
The Law Firm of Joseph Lassen can support your needs in every aspect of estate planning, elder law, elder care, asset protection, and associated wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. The best assurance that your requests will be fulfilled is to employ a competent estate planning attorney to cover all the bases. Please contact Joseph Lassen at your convenience to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Call +1-210-625-6540 or send an email inquiry.