If you are a Texas resident who has reached the age of majority, you should have an estate plan. For many people, a will is sufficient to meet their estate planning needs. However, it’s possible that this document is one of many that you’ll need to ensure that your affairs can be handled in an adequate and timely manner if you pass away or become incapacitated.
Do you want to hold property outside of your estate?
Any property that is held outside of your estate at the time of your death is generally not subject to probate. One way to place assets outside of your estate is to place them in a trust. During your lifetime, it’s generally in your best interest to have a living revocable trust. This is because you can be both the trustee and beneficiary, which means that you retain control of your property until your death.
Trusts are also ideal if you are worried about what might happen if you become incapacitated. While a will doesn’t take effect until after your death, a living trust takes effect the day it is executed and funded. In the event that you cannot manage your own affairs, the person named as the alternate trustee can do so on your behalf.
Power of attorney documents may also be useful
If you don’t want to create a trust, drafting a financial power of attorney document may be a shrewd estate planning move. Your agent will be given power to pay bills, sell assets or take other steps in the event that you are temporarily or permanently incapacitated. Adding a medical power of attorney form to your estate plan may be ideal if you want to retain some level of control of the treatment that you receive while incapacitated.
A comprehensive estate plan may help to ensure that your affairs are managed properly during your life and settled quickly after your death. It is a good idea to review your plan regularly after creating it to ensure that it still meets your needs.