Colleyville Estate Planning Attorney
When a loved one passes away without a properly executed Last Will and Testament, the cost of transferring everything the decedent has worked for to their family can cost thousands of dollars and can take several months or longer as it goes through the process known as probate. Estate planning isn't just for the wealthy, it's for everyone. If you don't have an estate plan yet speak with an estate planning attorney at Mitchell Nachtigal Law, located in Colleyville, TX. Our estate planning attorneys are ready to customize a plan that will fully address your needs and help you accomplish your goals.
The Basics of Estate Planning
At Mitchell Nachtigal Law, we realize that estate planning can be an unpleasant thought for most people but imagine if something happens to you tomorrow and you died without an estate plan. What would happen to your property? More importantly, what would happen to your family?
While it's possible that everything will work out fine and your property will go where you want it to, properly planning for this unexpected event will make the entire process go much smoother for your loved ones.
Property Distribution with No Will
If there is no will in place in the state of Texas, you're said to have died intestate and the estate will be distributed based on Texas estate codes. The estate codes distinguish between community and separate property.
In the state of Texas, estate codes define separate property as anything that:
· A person received or inherited as a gift from someone else
· Anything a person owned prior to getting married
Community property involves all property a person accumulated or acquired while they were married. If a person dies intestate, it's handled much differently than any property that was owned individually.
If a person is survived by their children and spouse, the spouse receives half of the community property, retaining their half, and receives a third of the decedent's separate personal property, with one-third interest in their separate real property for their lifetime. The remainder of the decedent's separate property is divided among their children equally.
This arrangement will only apply if the spouse is the children's other parent. If the decedent has children from another relationship, then the following arrangement will apply:
The spouse will retain half of the community property, with one-third of the decedent's separate personal property, and a one-third interest in the decedent's separate real property for their lifetime, with the right to use the real property for their lifetime.
The decedent's children will receive everything else including the decedent's interest in community property in equal shares.
Planning for Your Own Future Needs
Estate planning isn't just about carrying out a person's final wishes after they die, it's also about preparing for future scenarios in which a person may not be able to make important decisions on their own.
With an estate plan, a person can designate a trusted individual who will serve as the medical power of attorney for health decisions and a durable power of attorney to handle finances.
One person can handle both roles, or a person can choose to nominate one person to handle their health care decisions and another to handle their finances.
A person can also specify the type of medical treatments they would like performed and which ones they don't want should they become incapacitated, or unable to decide these things at the time.
Unfortunately, these days, probate litigation is very common, and these disputes often occur because the decedent didn't have their final affairs in order. Either they used a cookie-cutter template that didn't specify their wishes adequately or there was no estate plan. While estate planning isn't the most exciting subject for many people, it's worth the small investment of your time to prevent major conflicts that can occur between heirs after you have passed away.
Implement Advanced Estate Planning Strategies
For people who have a substantial amount of assets, real estate, businesses, and other valuable properties, there are many different types of trusts and other types of estate planning tools that can be utilized to accomplish their goals while minimizing tax liability to their heirs. It's important to know what these tools are and how to effectively implement them to take full advantage of the available strategies. This means working with estate planning attorneys who have in-depth knowledge and understanding of not just estate planning, but also tax law, business law, and other related areas.
Start the Estate Planning Process Today
A person who wants to properly protect themselves and their family should have a trust, which is the legal instrument that's designed to ensure a family is protected and that a person's property goes to whomever they wish. At Mitchell Nachtigal Law, our attorneys will take the time from the beginning to understand your unique situation and create a customized plan for you and your family.
Estate planning will allow you to plan for:
· Your goals and dreams for yourself, your assets, and your family
· Fully controlled and disclosed costs
· Who your possessions go to
· The possibility of your own disability
· The type and extent of healthcare you wish to receive in the event you are not able to express those wishes
If you’re unsure whether you need to hire an estate planning attorney, ask yourself these questions:
· Who will take care of my spouse, my elderly parents, or my minor children when I pass away?
· Do I have a written plan to take care of my loved ones in the event I'm no longer able to?
· Have I valued and identified all my assets?
· What will happen to my property and other assets once I die or become disabled?
· Estate planning will take care of all these concerns and protect your loved ones if you are unable to due to a disability or in the event of your death.
Contact a Texas Estate Planning Lawyer Today
The Texas estate planning attorneys at Mitchell Nachtigal Law can help people plan for some of the most difficult times in their lives. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to meet with one of our estate planning lawyers. Let us answer any estate planning questions you may have and help you plan for a future that ensures your wishes are carried out and your loved ones are taken care of.