What types of documents do I need to create an estate plan?
In Texas, your estate plan should include all of the following documents:
- Your will. Who do you want to leave your assets to? Who is your executor?
- Durable Power of Attorney. Who will handle your finances, if necessary?
- Living Will. Who will communicate your final wishes? (This is also called a Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates document. It's also known as an Advance Directive.)
- Medical Power of Attorney. Who is in charge of making sure your desires in terms of health care are honored?
- Probate-Avoidance. (optional) Do you want to avoid probate court? If so, you'll need to create a document that gives someone permission to transfer your belongings to their inheritors. This can also be established in a Living Trust.
What happens if I don't have an estate plan?
If you pass away without having the proper documents officially filed, then you put your family and loved ones at risk of having to deal with daunting, meticulous tasks that really shouldn't be their responsibility to look after. Moreso, who gets what won't be determined by your people — it'll be determined by the court system.
What if I want to make changes to my estate plan?
Revising your estate plan is not a problem at all. As life goes on and relationships evolve, there may be several reasons why your estate plan needs to be updated. Some reasons for updating an estate plan include:
- getting married
- getting divorced
- having a baby
- someone who was listed in your plan dies
- buying new property or assets
- no longer owning certain property or assets
- a major shift in financial status or tax status