Estate planning is usually the last thing on our minds, especially if we’re young and healthy. Unfortunately, tragedy can strike us at any moment. Accidents and healthcare emergencies can emerge often out of nowhere. In the midst of a global pandemic, this is all the more relevant.
Many people have never heard of an estate plan or don’t understand how it differs from a will. An estate plan includes a will — but that’s not where it ends. It’s a guide to distributing all your assets and protecting your family in case you pass away or become incapacitated. In addition to a will, you should also determine:
An advance directive laying out your end-of-life wishes
Your power of attorney, both for medical and financial purposes
Trust funds to leave behind for your loved ones
Life insurance after your death
As an estate probate lawyer, I’ve witnessed the consequences of failing to plan — which often burden a deceased person’s family. Regardless of what stage of life you’re in, here’s why planning your estate is a wise choice.
Why You Need an Estate Plan
The consequences of not having an estate plan can be far-reaching for your family members and loved ones. Lacking an estate plan can lead to an unwanted distribution of your assets and disputes among family members.
Estate Plans Protect Your End-of-Life Wishes
In the case that you become incapacitated without an estate plan, several things can happen. If you’re in a coma or otherwise unable to make decisions, the state will choose who makes health care decisions for you. Your family will often be the ones responsible for making the heavy decision of whether to keep up with life support costs.
Estate Plans Implement Your Wishes After You Pass
If you don’t settle your wishes in legally enforceable writing and documentation, the state of Texas is free to decide what happens to your estate. Your assets don’t go to the government, but the law does decide who gets a piece of your estate and how much they receive. Without any sort of legal plan in Texas, your estate will primarily go to your spouse and surviving children. With no spouse or children, it goes to any surviving parents.
Estate Plans Prevent Legal Disputes Among Loved Ones
Arguments and legal battles among loved ones are a common occurrence. Fights often ensue over who gets a piece of your money, belongings, and assets. Relatives can even sue your estate if they feel entitled to an inheritance they didn’t receive. Such disputes end in tension and can even end up breaking your family apart.
The last thing you want to be worried about is how your family will fare financially after your passing. With an estate plan, you can give your loved ones one less thing to worry about in the wake of your passing.
Get in Touch with an Estate Probate Lawyer Today
Whether you need to create an estate plan or update it, I can help. Reach out today so we can discuss your goals and come up with a solution for your estate plan.