January 09, 2023
For the average citizen who doesn’t have legal training, estate planning comes with a lot of mysteries. Taking the first step toward estate planning starts with getting your questions answered. These questions can be addressed and answered by an estate planning attorney in the Rio Grande Valley. Getting answers to your questions will help you learn more about what it means to plan for one’s estate and help you think about how estate planning could be incorporated in your own affairs.
Villeda Law Group is a law firm serving the Rio Grande Valley which focuses on estate planning and is available to answer your questions. They will ensure all your estate planning needs are me, and most importantly, executed properly.
Estate Planning FAQs
What is an estate plan?
An estate plan enables you to make determinations concerning the management and administration of your assets, including making decisions for your health and well-being, should you be unable to do so. A well-executed estate plan accomplishes your goals for your family and financial affairs by dispensing of your assets and directing your agents as to your personal care.
It also provides peace of mind regarding overseeing legal and monetary affairs. For individuals with larger estates, an estate plan also helps reduce tax obligations that may arise.
What should an estate plan include?
The main documents in an estate plan is the one that will allow you to dispense your assets to the persons or entities of your choosing upon your death and plan for incapacitation. The most important documents for an estate plan are:
- Last Will and Testament – In the absence of a Will, your assets follow Texas law-mandated distribution instead of the persons of your choosing. A Last Will and Testament will allow you to leave your assets only to whomever you choose after you die.
- Advanced Health Care Directive – This is a legal document that allows you to put in writing any end-of-life decisions you may need to make in the event you become incapacitated or unable to and appoint someone to act in your place to make healthcare decisions for you when you cannot.
- Durable Power of Attorney – This part of an estate plan allows you to name an agent who can act in your place regarding financial decision-making. It offers protection for your wishes when you become incapacitated.
- Medical Power of Attorney – This document enables you to assign one or more people to make medical decisions in your place in the event of incapacitation.
Who/What is an executor?
An executor is the chosen party that carries out your directives as indicated in your Will. Their responsibilities include:
- Collection and protection of assets in your estate
- Taking care of debts and taxes owed by your estate
- Dispersing the assets according to your Will
According to the Texas legislature, an executor is responsible for managing and caring for the estate as a shrewd person would care for their assets. Texas law also allows appointing your executor as an “independent executor,” resulting in very little court involvement or supervision. Thus, allowing you to escape a lot of expenses and hastening the probate process.
Who should you appoint as your executor?
Ensure that you truly trust the person you appoint, and that they are willing and able to perform. Most people think of their friends or family first, however remember that they will be grieving during this time. In a perfect situation, you should appoint a person who can keep a level head throughout the process.
You should also assign an alternate executor should the first appointed executor not maintain the ability or willingness to execute their duties.
What is estate tax?
An estate tax is imposed on asset distribution after death. Normally, this tax only affects people who possess significantly sized estates. As a concept, it is essential to familiarize oneself with such.
Creating Your Estate Plan with a Rio Grande Valley Estate Planning Attorney
Doing estate planning as an individual can be complicated if not done properly. Without knowledge of the various legal requirements and tax obligations, one may leave very little to loved ones. Estate planning attorneys help ensure your beneficiaries get what you left them with minimal fees and expenses eating into their inheritance.
For more information on frequently asked questions about estate planning, contact Villeda Law Group. It is never too early and never too late to plan for your and your family’s and business’s future.