Estate Planning & Probate Administration
Estate planning is a diverse area of the law that enables people to make arrangements for their property, finances, and medical care in the event of their incapacitation or death. While the primary objective of the process is to determine how your assets will be distributed after you pass, estate planning is so much more than that. It allows you to maximize your assets by designing a clear plan for your heirs and family to follow and sustain your legacy for generations to come.
According to a 2022 survey, 67% of Americans do not have an estate plan. At Cotten Schmidt, we believe in the importance of quality planning services. With a detailed plan in place, you can help your surviving loved ones avoid unnecessary stress during a period of immense sadness and loss.
If you’re in the areas of Fort Worth or Corpus Christi, Texas, our estate planning and probate administration attorneys are here to help you draft and update your estate documents in accordance with your individual goals. And, if you’re navigating the probate process, we can help guide you through it with focused care. To get started, reach out to us now.
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Why Is Estate Planning Important?
Everyone needs an estate plan. A common misconception is that estate planning is only necessary if you’re wealthy, retired, or terminally ill. In actuality, estate planning can benefit anyone. Regardless of your status, age, or health, the life you're building matters. Our attorneys are here to help you make the most of it.
Another common misconception about estate planning is that if you die without a will or any other documents in place, your surviving family members will decide who gets what. In actuality, if you die intestate (without a will), that decision-making power will go to the applicable state law, catapulting your loved ones into the probate process — which is known for being time-consuming and expensive.
While you cannot predict the future, you can prepare for it. Having a detailed plan in place benefits both you and the people you leave behind, so don’t put it off. Schedule a call with our experienced and creative estate planning attorneys today to start exploring your options.
Documents That May Be Included In An Estate Plan
Central to estate planning is the use of different legal documents to address your specific needs, wishes, and objectives. For Texas residents, we recommend considering the following estate planning tools.
Also referred to as a “last will and testament,” a will allows you to clearly outline how you want your assets to be distributed after you pass. In order to legally implement a will in Texas, you must be either 18 years old (or older), married/previously married, or a member of the U.S. armed forces.
Similar to wills, establishing a trust lets you name your beneficiaries and decide which of your assets they’ll inherit upon your death. There are many types of trusts to consider, and many people elect to include trusts in their estate plans because, unlike wills, trusts do not have to pass through Texas probate court.
Powers of Attorney
By choosing a power of attorney (POA), you allow another person to make important decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation. Many estate plans include a POA for healthcare and a POA for financial and business matters. There are numerous types of POAs available for Texas citizens to create, which is why it’s crucial to consult an attorney about which ones best suit your needs.
Advance Healthcare Directives
You can utilize an advance healthcare directive to outline specific end-of-life wishes. An advance directive is also often referred to as a “living will” or “Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates,” as it communicates instructions about your preferred medical treatment if an illness or injury causes you to become incapacitated.
While many Texas estate plans include a combination of the above documents, it’s important to note that no two estate plans are alike. When you work with our attorneys, you’ll experience our individualized approach to service. We will get to know you so we can help you choose and assemble the right combination of documents that will speak to your vision for your legacy and the best interests of your beneficiaries.
How an Attorney Can Help
Regardless of the size or complexity of your estate, it’s important to seek counsel from an experienced attorney. There are online forms available that allow people to create a will on their own, but Texas estate and tax law can be complex. Working with an attorney can help you be certain that your estate planning documents are valid and in line with your objectives.
Our attorneys at Cotten Schmidt guide individuals and families through a variety of estate and probate law processes. We can help you make your wishes clear by drafting enforceable documentation that will provide your executor with the instructions they need to administer your estate and, ideally, avoid any potential disputes from arising amongst your descendants.
If you’re currently navigating the estate administration process, our attorneys understand how difficult this time can be. Our aim is to help your family through trust and probate administration in a timely and effective fashion, so you can focus on grieving your loss. No matter what your estate planning or probate needs to entail, know that we’re here to simplify the process through personalized and compassionate representation. Let us help you build a better tomorrow, starting today.
Estate Planning & Probate Administration Attorneys in Fort Worth & Corpus Christi, Texas
A knowledgeable estate planning lawyer can make a positive difference in not only your life but the lives of your loved ones. At Cotten Schmidt, our estate planning and probate administration attorneys are dedicated to providing clients with customized, creative solutions. We’re proud to offer our legal services to individuals and families throughout Fort Worth and Corpus Christi, Texas, and their surrounding areas. Schedule a call with our team today to let us know how we can help. We look forward to working with you.
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