Estate planning is a very broad term in Austin, Texas, referring to a person's arrangements on issues that affect them and their family toward the end of their life. These might include instructions for end-of-life care, as well as drafting a will or other document with the intent of disposing of one's property after their death.
One of the first things an estate planner will ask you about when you come to them for help is what you want to put in your will. A will is a document which says who is going to get your property after your death. Once it is proven valid, a will is binding, meaning that the beneficiaries get legal ownership of whatever is left to them. Obviously, if you have any interest in what is done with your property after you die, a will is going to be at the center of your estate plan. However, it is rarely the only part of a solid estate plan.
For example, a knowledgeable estate plan will include a living will, which gives your family members and healthcare professionals instructions about your medical care, to be followed in the event you become incapacitated. You should also include your funeral arrangements, and your preference with respect to organ donation.
Perhaps most vitally, your estate plan should make arrangements for the care and custody of your minor children, if you have any. Of course, you should discuss this matter with the person you intend to take custody of the children beforehand, to ensure that they are able and willing to provide proper care.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Austin, Texas?
Obviously, this depends on your needs, which you will have to figure out for yourself. Some typical considerations in making this decision, however, are your health, age, and the amount of assets involved.
For instance, if you're unmarried, and in your early 20's, estate planning is probably not the most necessary thing in your life. However, if you're seriously ill, and/or unusually wealthy, estate planning might be a priority for you.
If you are unmarried, but have a life partner in Austin, Texas, estate planning is crucial, if you wish for your life partner to be treated as if he or she were your spouse (to the extent possible). In such a situation, the estate plan should make arrangements to give your life partner power of attorney in case you become incapacitated. Your will should also clearly include your partner (if you wish for them to inherit any of your assets).
There is another considerable group of people who would benefit from having a good Austin, Texas estate plan: the elderly and those with a lot of money really need to consider making a comprehensive estate plan as soon as possible. While this necessarily includes facing some uncomfortable realities, it is necessary and unavoidable.
Do I Need a Austin, Texas Estate Planning Attorney?
Estate planning in Austin, Texas is not always perplexing, but it certainly can be. In moderately-sized to large estates, with a substantial number of potential beneficiaries, it is crucial to have the assistance of an estate planning professional.