Plan Today For Peace Tomorrow
The Daves Law Firm provides comprehensive estate planning services to individuals and families throughout Austin, Texas, and the surrounding areas. We will take the time to sit down with you, listen to your story, understand your goals and needs, and create an estate plan that gives you security and peace of mind. Our Austin estate planning attorneys will assist you with all aspects of estate planning, including:
Every estate plan should include a Last Will and Testament. Your Will controls who receives your property when you pass and who is in charge of handling your estate. A well-drafted Will makes life much easier on your loved ones after you are gone.
A trust is a highly effective estate planning tool for transferring your property. There are many advantages to trusts, including avoiding probate and keeping your affairs private. Our attorneys are highly experienced in creating a variety of trusts, including living revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts, special needs trusts, trusts for children and grandchildren, and more.
Powers of Attorney
Your estate plan is also there to protect you while you are living. To that end, every estate plan should include certain ‘lifetime documents’ such as the durable power of attorney, medical power of attorney, the living Will (directive to physicians), declaration of guardian, HIPAA release, and others. These documents will provide for your well-being in the event you become ill, injured, or incapacitated.
Special Needs Trusts
Planning for beneficiaries with special needs requires careful, thoughtful planning. Many loved ones with special needs receive public benefits of some kind, such as SSI or Medicaid. If you leave property directly to a loved one with special needs, this could jeopardize their eligibility for public benefits. The solution to this problem is a Special Needs Trust, or Supplemental Needs Trust. Our estate planning attorneys in Austin, TX will assist you in establishing such a trust so your beneficiaries can continue receiving public benefits without risk.
Probate is the legal process that establishes ownership of the deceased’s property. Before heirs and beneficiaries can take title to estate assets, the estate must go through probate. This is true regardless of whether the deceased died with or without a Last Will and Testament. Our attorneys will guide you through Texas probate efficiently and effectively.
What Is An Estate Plan?
An estate plan is a legal plan that provides for your assets and loved ones upon your death. An estate plan also takes care of you during your lifetime–in the case of disability or incapacity, your estate plan provides for your well-being while you are living.
Why Is Estate Planning Important?
Estate planning is important because it can act as a safety net that helps preserve the value of your assets, minimizes wait times for disbursement, and helps ensure the legacy you envisioned is carried out. An estate plan allows you to do the following:
Ensure Your Property Goes To The Right People When You Die
If you die without an estate plan, state law determines who gets your property. Too often, this results in your property going to the wrong people and in the wrong proportions. An estate plan gives you total control over who gets your property as well as the manner in which they receive it.
Protect Your Children
Who will take care of your children if something happens to you? An estate plan allows you to name a guardian to take care of your minor children in the event of your death. Who will manage their inheritance while they are young? Minors cannot directly receive inherited property, but a proper estate plan will ensure your childrens’ inheritance is properly managed and cared for while they are young. Even after your children are grown, an estate plan will also protect them from creditors, spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends.
Make Life Easier On Your Loved Ones After You Are Gone
Life is hard enough after a loved one has passed away. It is even harder when there is no Will. If you die without a Will, you are doubling the headache, cost, and time involved in settling your estate in the probate courts. An estate plan ensures efficiency and ease after you are gone. Many people do not want their loved ones to deal with probate courts at all, and thus choose to create a plan that entirely avoids Texas probate.
Age With Dignity, Respect And Control
An estate plan enables you to maintain dignity, respect and control as you age. In your estate plan you can nominate loved ones to handle your finances and healthcare decisions when you are no longer able to do so yourself. This side-steps the need for your family to obtain a court-ordered guardianship over you, which is an intrusive, highly public, and court-supervised process.
Eliminate Family Conflict
The sad truth is that families often do not get along after a parent has passed. One child may believe that he or she is entitled to a larger share of the estate than the other children, or should be in control of handling the estate. This results in litigation at worst and bad blood at best. A well-drafted estate plan contains safeguards and legal mechanisms designed to reduce the possibility of conflict and ensure your wishes are carried out exactly as intended.
What Documents Are Part Of An Estate Plan?
There are certain essential estate planning documents that should be a part of every estate plan. Every estate plan we create at the Daves Law Firm contains at least these essential documents:
Last Will And Testament
Your Will directs who gets your ‘probate’ assets when you die, and who will be in charge of handling the affairs of your estate. Not all of your property is necessarily controlled by the terms of your Will.
Durable Power Of Attorney
A durable power of attorney allows you to name an agent to handle your finances on your behalf if you become incapacitated. For example, if you are in the hospital, your agent under your durable power of attorney can pay your bills and conduct other business necessary to take care of you.
Medical Power Of Attorney
The medical power of attorney allows you to name an agent to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated and cannot make these decisions yourself.
There is a federal law called HIPPA which creates red tape around who can receive your healthcare information. Your HIPPA Release allows you to choose who has access your healthcare information if something happens to you.
Declaration Of Guardian
A Declaration of Guardian allows you to name someone to serve as your guardian in the event you became incapacitated and needed a court-ordered guardianship.
Appointment Of Guardian For Children
This document allows you to choose who will take care of your minor children if something happens to you.
Directive to Physicians (Living Will)
A living Will allows you to dictate what happens in the event you are in a terminal or irreversible condition (i.e., when you are a vegetable, there is no brain activity, and your doctors determine you will never come out of it). This document allows you to direct that you either be kept alive in this condition or instead be allowed to die as gently as possible).
Living Revocable Trusts
Not every estate plan includes a living trust. But, a trust is a widely-used and powerful estate planning tool that can do many things: a trust makes life easy on your loved ones after you pass; keeps your estate private; avoids the probate courts; and more.
Everyone’s situation is unique, and the optimal estate plan for you might utilize additional estate planning tools, such as irrevocable trusts, special needs trusts, LLCs, Lady Bird Deeds, Transfer on Death Deeds, and more.
Contact Our Austin Estate Planning Attorneys
Contact our estate planning attorneys today to schedule a confidential, no-cost initial consultation with one of our estate planning attorneys. We offer both in-person and virtual consultations. This meeting typically takes between an hour to an hour and a half. During this meeting, you and your attorney will discuss all of your estate planning goals, questions, and concerns; walk through the basics of estate planning and what types of planning options exist; and help you create the right estate plan for you and your family. From our Austin office, we offer estate planning services throughout the area, including Hays County, Buda, Kyle, Dripping Springs, Driftwood, Northwest Hills, Round Rock, Pfluegerville, and Williamson County.