Do you know how your family would fare if you passed away? What would happen to your assets? Who would care for your children?
We get it—planning for your passing isn’t a pleasant thing to do. But the reality is that a sound estate plan can help ensure your wishes are known, protect your assets, and secure your loved ones’ future.
Reach out to a West University estate planning attorney at Stafford Law Firm today and we’ll help you create a comprehensive estate plan that benefits your family for generations to come.
Seven miles from downtown Houston, West University Place, TX is home to over 15,000 Texans. With a median household income of $250,000, a median property value of $1.18 million, and a homeownership rate of 91.6% (well above the national average), West U was reported to be the most affluent neighborhood in the Houston area in 2022.
What does all this mean for you? Well, it could mean that if you’re researching estate planning in West University Place, chances are you have assets and a future to look out for, and you can’t risk losing everything you’ve earned on a whim.
When you and your family’s future is on the line, don’t just hire anyone—hire West University estate planning lawyers who know what they’re doing.
Estate planning is an ongoing process that sets your family up for success when you’re no longer around. It’s as unique as you are and can include a variety of tools.
Because of that, our team offers comprehensive estate planning services so you can hand-select the tools that make sense for your family.
Here are just a few ways we can help you.
Wills are a great starting point for your estate plans. In your will, you can designate guardians for minor children, select beneficiaries for your assets, and even dictate your wishes for burial arrangements.
Keep in mind, however, that wills do not provide asset protection, which means they’ll need to be used in conjunction with other estate planning tools to cover all the bases.
Trusts are fiduciary arrangements that allow a third party (trustee) to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary. When you set up a trust, the trust becomes the owner of those assets and the trustee, the manager, until you pass away or become incapacitated.
Creating a trust allows you to protect those assets from probate and have more autonomy over how and when they’re distributed.
Part of estate planning is planning for the unexpected, like if you become badly injured or sick. In situations like these, your loved ones and doctors will need guidance on what healthcare treatments you want, what life-saving measures you would or wouldn’t prefer, and other decisions.
These aren’t decisions you want your family to have to second-guess about. And when you can’t speak for yourself, healthcare directives allow you to outline your wishes beforehand.
Power of attorney documents allow a third party (agent) to act on your behalf in your absence. If you were temporarily disabled, incapacitated, or taking an extended trip, these documents allow that third party to step in and make important legal, financial, or healthcare decisions for you.
Without these documents, the court could decide who should make these decisions and, depending on the circumstances, end up stripping you of your rights altogether.
Probate is the court-supervised estate administration process that involves rounding up your final affairs. This includes collecting, managing, and distributing your estate. It can be costly and time-consuming, dragging your loved ones back and forth to court to determine what should happen with your estate.
According to Houston probate law, this process can be avoided with proper planning. However, when necessary, surviving loved ones can count on an experienced probate attorney to walk them through the probate process.
Planning your estate is both logical and emotional. We never want to consider what life would be like without us around. But at Stafford Law Firm, our attorneys can use their knowledge of Texas estate law to help you plan your estate, protect your assets, and give you peace of mind for the unexpected.
Our other legal services include:
Are you ready to take the next step in planning your estate?
Contact a TX estate planning lawyer at Stafford Law Firm to schedule a complimentary estate planning consultation. We can help you organize all of the legal documents for your estate plan.
Some people think they don’t need an estate plan. Maybe they don’t have anyone to leave their wealth to or they think creating a Last Will and Testament on their own will be enough..
The truth is, though, we all have people or things we care about, and a will alone may not be enough to secure your assets and make the most of them. Why not take the next step, make it official, and guarantee that your wishes are honored when you’re no longer able to speak for yourself?
While you can technically draft your own will, it’s best to work with an experienced estate planning attorney. They will make sure your will is legal and valid, and they will help you create one that best fits the needs of both you and your family. If your estate is large and complex, you should definitely work with an attorney to create a will that properly secures your assets and honors your wishes.
Some people think that having a will is all they need to protect their loved ones from the probate process when they die.
This is a misconception.
A will is certainly beneficial, as having one does help your executor complete probate easily since they’ll know how to distribute your assets. However, most estates have to go through probate regardless of whether or not the decedent had a valid will.
If you want to avoid probate, you can create a revocable living trust. A revocable living trust is a document where you can distribute your assets to your heirs. Trusts don’t have to go through probate, so your assets pass to your beneficiaries immediately.
Wills and trusts are similar, but they have different purposes. A will is a document that explains exactly how you want your assets to be distributed once you die. Your will may include your executor and instructions for your funeral.
A trust is an arrangement that allows you, the grantor, to transfer assets to a trustee. A trust defines the trustee’s ownership to the assets and how they should handle the distributions. The trustee must manage the assets as defined in the trust. Trusts are effective once the trustee transfers the assets, while wills become effective when the decedent dies.
The biggest benefit of trusts is that it protects your assets from legal fees, court costs, and creditors when you die. With a trust, you can:
Seek out the legal aid of a trust administration attorney to determine whether a trust makes sense for your unique estate plan.