Estate Planning Lawyer in Woodlands & Huntsville TX
Guidance to make sound decisions!
Large or small, almost every adult has an “estate,” which means that estate planning is important for just about everyone. Your estate includes all of your assets—from checking and savings accounts to vehicles and furniture. An estate even includes claims which you may have against third parties. If you die intestate, which means that you did not create a will, the laws of the state will dictate what happens to your estate. Whether your estate is minimal or substantial, it’s important to consult an estate planning attorney to ensure that your wishes are carried out after your death. Individuals who live near The Woodlands, Conroe, and Spring can rely on the legal team at The Law Offices of Andrew J. Bolton, Esq. for effective estate planning guidance.
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is the area of law that deals with the management and disposal of a person’s estate (his or her property and possessions) in the event of his or her death. Naturally, estate planning is completed well before death in order to ensure that estate plans are drawn up exactly to his or her stipulations.
Components of Estate Planning
The term “last will and testament” often comes to mind regarding estate planning, but estate planning also involves other topics such as the creation of trusts, designation of executors and guardians, family settlement agreements, and stipulations for probate bonds. Additionally, estate planning lawyers work with bereaved families and executors who are navigating the complex probate process. Here’s a closer look at a few basic aspects of estate planning:
- Will: The will is a written document that identifies beneficiaries of specific assets. A will cannot distribute all types of assets, however, such as jointly held real estate and life insurance benefits. The will may also designate a legal guardian for minor children of the testator.
- Executor: The testator of the will designates an executor, who is charged with entering the will into probate court, settling outstanding debts, and distributing assets to the heirs.
- Probate Bond: This is a de facto insurance policy against a breach of the fiduciary duties of the executor. It protects the heirs from being deprived of their inheritances because the executor has committed a fraudulent act.
- Probate: The process by which a will is proved valid and the estate is administered.
- Trust: This is an legal creation which holds assets for designated beneficiaries. In certain cases, setting up a trust can minimize estate taxes where taxable estates are involved.
Why Do I Need Estate Planning?
Estate planning is absolutely necessary in ensuring the your property and assets are allocated properly and that your family is protected from any unnecessary taxation or costs. Since there are several components of estate planning, the process of making your final arrangements can be complex and difficult to handle on your own. By working with an attorney, you’ll also minimize the risk that you’ll make any of these top three mistakes:
- Disability: Making final arrangements isn’t the only reason to speak with a probate lawyer. Many people neglect to plan for the possibility of long-term disability. A lawyer can create a living trust and a power of attorney document, which take care of your affairs if you are unable to do so.
- Updates: Your estate planning needs can evolve over time. When significant life circumstances occur, such as divorce, remarriage, or a death, it’s time to visit your lawyer again to make a new will.
- Estate Tax: Often, individuals fail to take advantage of strategies that minimize estate taxes for their heirs. A lawyer can prevent this costly mistake.
Estate Planning for Individuals and Business Owners
Here at The Law Offices of Andrew J Bolton, Esq. our legal team has over 20 years of experience handling estate planning for clients across The Woodlands, TX and beyond. In addition to estate planning services for individuals, we also offer specialized estate planning services for business owners to ensure that issues such as ownership, resources, and responsibilities are allocated exactly to your specifications. To learn more about estate planning services, and to schedule a complimentary consultation with our legal team, contact our law office in The Woodlands at (936) 755-4443 today!
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