Estate Planning Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have questions about estate planning? Do you need to know more about process of creating a Last Will and Testament? Are unsure if you need a lawyer?
Our most frequently asked questions (FAQs) provide answers to the most common estate planning questions asked by clients. Please select a category to narrow your FAQ search.
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What is a Last Will and Testament?
A last Will and testament is a legal declaration of how an individual would like his or her property to be dispersed after death. Doing so will provide the peace of mind needed to know one’s family will be taken care of no matter what happens. If a person dies without a Will, the state will decide what will happen to their assets. Find out more about what a Will Package includes.
Do I Need A Power of Attorney?
Yes. You need a statutory durable power of attorney and a medical power of attorney. Without these documents, you have no control over who makes decisions for you if you should become disabled or incapacitated and unable to handle your financial affairs or make your own medical decisions. The Court will step in and decide who your Guardian will be without these power of attorneys.
A Statutory Durable Power of Attorney lets you give another person the power to legally handle your affairs should you become disabled or incapacitated. You choose when this becomes effective. This Power of Attorney can take effect immediately and is not affected by your subsequent disability or incapacity OR it takes effect only upon your incapacity or disability.
For example, suppose you are seriously injured, you may not be able to pay bills or keep up with your financial obligations. A power of attorney allows a trusted family member or friend to handle financial matters and access accounts on your behalf.
A Medical Power of Attorney grants another person the legal authority to make medical decisions if you are unable to do so. This Power of Attorney ONLY becomes effective when you become disabled or incapacitated. It is a good idea to discuss your beliefs and wishes with this person so you can be sure they understand what you want.
My husband and I have no other family, do we still need a Will?
Although the Texas law assumes that a deceased spouse's assets will pass to the other spouse when no Will is present, it is always recommended that you have a Will.
There are many variables that are considered when a Will is prepared that may not be considered otherwise. A Will ensures your assets will be distributed according to your terms.
I'm the executor of my mother's Will and am getting calls about debts, what should I do?
Before paying any debts on your mother's estate, you should talk with a probate attorney to examine the debt thoroughly to ensure that it is valid and must be paid.
What is the difference between a will and a living will?
A will disposes of your estate according to your terms. A living will defines how you would like certain aspects to be handled at the end of your life so that others do not have to make decisions on your behalf.
What does it mean to have Power of Attorney?
When someone has Power of Attorney for another individual it means that should the other individual become incapacitated, the person holding Power of Attorney can make decisions on their behalf.